Medical marijuana supporters want expansion

6:36 PM, May 14, 2013   |    comments
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UPDATE... 6:35PM The Bangor Daily News reports the committee has voted down one of the proposed expansions.

AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - The people who own and manage Maine's eight medical marijuana dispensaries are asking the Legislature to let the drug be used to treat far more medical conditions.

Right now the state has a strict list of medical conditions for which marijuana can be prescribed. They include cancer, HIV/AIDS, Multiple Sclerosis and several other illnesses.

The dispensaries say they want to be able to prescribe the drug for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, treatment of opiate addiction and allow doctors prescribe it for any other condition they think appropriate. That's just one of six bills being considered by lawmakers right now.

The Maine Medical Association, which represents doctors, is opposed to the change. It says the list should not be expanded without scientific evidence that marijuana is actually beneficial for those conditions. The MMA says that, in general, it believes the program rules are adequate as they are now.

Most of the other bills being considered by the Health and Human Services Committee would deal with changing some of the state's rules for the medical marijuana program, which the dispensary owners described as the "strictest in the country". Meanwhile the Criminal Justice Committee is debating a proposal to legalize marijuana statewide. If it passes the Legislature it would be sent to a statewide referendum vote.


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