Today, Governor LePage signed LD 1296 into law.  After spending countless hours drafting and redrafting the lengthy bill, meeting with effected patients, caregivers, doctors and negotiating with public officials and lawmakers, it feels great to know that we are a few steps closer to medical marijuana patients being treated with the same dignity and respect for their privacy as any other ill person seeking the best treatment for their needs.   

The bill received unanimous approval in the Health and Human Services Committee and passed through the House and the Senate without debate.  Such widespread, bi-partisan support and grassroots support for LD 1296 reflects Maine’s history of compassionate care for patients and respect for personal privacy.  It's simple - seriously ill patients shouldn’t have to place their highly sensitive personal medical information in a statewide database in order to access the care they need.

LD 1296 (now PUBLIC Law, Chapter 407) reforms Maine’s medical marijuana law to protect patient privacy, ensure access to medical marijuana, and clarify protections for patients from law enforcement action.  Amongst other changes, patients will no longer have to register and those who choose to register won't be required to disclose their specific medical condition to the state.  Also - after a rash of "NIMBY-like" actions by municipalities seeking to limit or burden cultivating patients or caregivers, the new law prevents towns and cities from passing regulations more restrictive than those in state law.  The bill has succeeded in upholding the will of the people - who voted in 2009 to increase patient access and protect patient privacy, and has even improved on the Citizen's Initiated bill by barring law enforcement action or discrimination against those acting lawfully under Maine's Medical Marijuana Act.   

It seems that at the end of the day, people understand that medical marijuana patients and their loved ones want and deserve what any other sick person wants - to access the care they need without fear of arrest, prosecution, or breach of doctor/patient confidentiality.

I am deeply thankful for all of the patients, caregivers, dispensary operators and other interested people who lent their voice and their story to this effort.  Together we've made a real difference!