Since last writing, OMP has revised (ever so slightly) their proposed rules. Updated 4/2/21
- Please read our next post about another bill that would stop the new rules for now to allow more stakeholder participation
We think these revisions haven’t gone far enough in keeping medicine affordable and accessible for patients!
There was a public hearing on March 22 regarding the rule changes – the full video can be seen here. COMMENTING NOW CLOSED! WRITTEN comments were accepted until Thursday, April 1 and submitted via the OMP web form here. When submitting comments, please reference the sections etc of parts of the rules you are commenting about… we’ve tried to include them with our concerns below.
As stated before, the Maine medical cannabis industry is the largest agricultural industry in Maine. It operates at a high level of tax compliance and safety for consumers. Therefore, the extra regulations in the new rules are not “fixing” existing problems. In fact, they will more than likely reduce patient access and increase the cost to patients.
Why we STILL believe the new medical cannabis rules are bad for patients:
- It creates a more complicated patient certification process. Practitioners have to collect extensive information (including any history of substance abuse) about patients and the increased paperwork and time spent will likely increase certification prices. Please refer to Section 3.1.2.A for more information on certification.
- E-certifications will explicitly not be accepted for qualifying Maine patients. This reduces patient access (the mail is often unpredictable) and seems arbitrary since patients from other States may use e-cards. Why are Maine patients being punished? Please refer to Section 3.1.1.C.3 for more information on e-certifications.
- Costs to patients will increase due to extra time spent on mandated tracking system (Section 7.1) and extra packaging requirements (Section 8.1). The program is operating safely and generating the State of Maine a lot of tax revenue. So extra mandates regarding safety and tax compliance should not be at the forefront. Additionally, the costs for security, tracking and packaging will force many smaller caregiver operations to go out of business 🙁
- The biased and stigmatized ideas about cannabis are abundant in the advertising requirements (Section 9.1). The words “therapeutic” will not allowed to be used – though those of us who use cannabis medicinally can certainly attest to it’s therapeutic value.
- Patients with mobility and/or pain issues need to be able to open their medicine. The lack of clarity on child safety requirements is troubling and complicated packaging will likely make accessing products more cumbersome.
The proposed rules are bad for patients. They are also bad for small caregiver businesses who serve their local communities.
Please ask OMP to stop stigmatizing cannabis and protect Medical Cannabis Patients and Maine-owned Caregiver Businesses by removing many of these unnecessary proposed rules.