Medical Marijuana Misconceptions

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05/03/2020

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Medical Marijuana Misconceptions

Over the course of my time as a MMMP caregiver, I’ve come across a wide range of people from many different backgrounds who have some pretty significant misconceptions about the medical marijuana program with respect to their personal privacy, and whether or not they are an appropriate candidate for the program. Some of the misinformation to be corrected simply stems from a lack of updated information, some of it comes from people in the industry themselves, and some of it comes from a strong mistrust of programs regulated by the State.  Here are a few examples of common misconceptions. 

Who’s qualified to buy? The first misconception people have is that they don’t need a med card to purchase marijuana in Maine currently. However, this is directly from the Office of Marijuana Policy website: 

Only medical patients can buy medical marijuana in Maine. Individuals who have received a patient certification from a medical professional may legally access medical marijuana from a caregiver or dispensary. Cards are available to Maine residents only.

Patients visiting Maine from another state may be able to purchase medical marijuana from a registered caregiver or dispensary if they have valid patient identification credentials (like a registry or patient identification card) and their state of residence allows them to use their state-issued credential to purchase medical marijuana in Maine.

See: 22 M.R.S. §2423-A, Id. §2423-C, Id. §2425-A; Maine Medical Use Marijuana Program

Until adult use marijuana stores are licensed and open, it is illegal to buy or sell non-medical marijuana in Maine.

See: 28-B M.R.S. §1501(1)(C)

It is true that Maine legalized Adult Use Recreational as a legal business activity, however, there are still no licensed, legal stores, or other recreational services going in the state relative to consumer sales of cannabis. Any support you are providing to these types of businesses just serves to bolster the gray/black market and gives the state the fodder for wanting to create these law enforcement “task forces” to regulate people that aren’t following the existing rules.   

Am I put on a list that’s reported to the state? 

Patient information is not captured or stored in a registry with the state. Instead the data they do keep is more for statistical, group analysis rather than individual specific information. With regard to getting a med card this is what the OMP/MMMP website says about the information they collect: 

“A basic transaction history will be retained for statistical purposes, which include the date, name of the certifying medical provider, the zip code of the patient and whether the patient is over age 18. Medical provider login information and passwords will be encrypted.”

For more info: https://www.maine.gov/dafs/omp/medical-use/certification-process

Is my employer, the feds, my doctor or favorite gun store owner going to find out I have a med card? 

Given that your name isn’t kept in the registry, and kept at the level of the practitioner that certified you, your physician isn’t notified of the fact that you’re a med patient. You are simply asked if you have a primary care physician (PCP) that can be listed with your file. However, it isn’t a requirement for obtaining a med card that you be listed with a PCP as many people don’t have one.

Employers do not get notified, or have any way to know that you’re a med patient. An employer cannot ask you if you have a med card as that is private information. An employer cannot fire you for testing positive for THC on a urine screen in Maine either. Employers might have a policy that prohibits the use of cannabis products even for med patients while at work, so if your employer has a rule like that, it would require a blood test to tell detect an active presence of THC in your body. If your blood then tests positive for THC, you could face any consequences spelled out by your employer. 

The fact that you have a med card doesn’t show up in a background check for simply buying a gun. However, it is very clear from the rules that you cannot have a gun, cannabis products and a med card in the same location when travelling around, or you would likely be unable, at a minimum, to participate in the med program. So, if you’re going to go to the gun range, don’t bring your med card or cannabis products with you. If you’re travelling with your med card and cannabis, make sure you don’t have a firearm on you. However, there’s no real way to tell, it just comes down to a personal choice by the individual. Again, having a med card ensures both privacy and legality when it comes to you and your relationship with cannabis. 

Businesses selling recreational cannabis are going to have to do more detailed tracking of your purchases than is currently the case with the medical program. Your State ID will likely be scanned when purchasing cannabis under the rec program too. You’ll also likely be facing some pretty steep taxes on your recreational purchases. 

You won’t legally be able to get it delivered to you without a med card, unless recreational deliveries are added to the Adult Use Recreational program. The day that Soylent Greens can apply for a license to deliver cannabis under the Adult Use Recreational program, we will jump on the OMP website and get after it, but until that day we are simply unable to serve the recreational community. Our service remains unadulterated with Rec sales. That is our promise to MMMP patients and visiting qualifying patients. 

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