The state of Maine is looking to crack down on its medical marijuana caregivers. On Nov. 8, 2017, the state Department of Health and Human Services issued new rules governing medical marijuana caregivers and their patients.
Under the new rules, caregiver grow sites will be subject to unannounced inspections by workers contracted by the state or inspectors with the Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention, even if that grow site is in the caregiver’s home.
Current rules only require inspections if there has been a complaint filed against the caregiver, and even in those cases caregivers have the right to refuse entry and reschedule the inspection for a later date.
In addition to submitting to unscheduled inspections, the new rules will also force caregivers to meticulously document the transportation of medical marijuana between where it was cultivated and where it was purchased.
Known as “trip tickets,” caregivers will have to document information such as the patient’s ID number, how much marijuana was sold, when and where the marijuana was delivered and more. Under the existing rules, only dispensaries are required to fill out trip tickets.
The new rules would also eliminate a patient’s ability to receive a recommendation via telemedicine. According to Matt Dubois, a lawyer representing several medical marijuana businesses in the state, eliminating telemedicine and requiring trip tickets will disproportionately affect low-income and rural patients.
“It will discourage caregivers from traveling,” Dubois said. “That will put medicine out of reach for some low-income or disabled patients, or those who live in rural areas.”
The new rules will take effect on Feb. 1, 2018. In response to the rule change, the group Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine has scheduled an educational forum aimed at examining the rule’s impact on its members for Nov. 18, 2017.