News, Views, and Information about Disability

Disability News, Views, Information, and Literature

Friday, November 22, 2013

Legislative Action: Nursing Home, Hospice, and Medical Marijuana

Special report by Michael Reynolds for Ability Maine

Contact your Representative and Senator today about legislation being
voted on soon at the Legislative Council
Appeals Meeting.

NOTE: The vote was originally scheduled for yesterday, November 21, but it was delayed, so you still have time to call!

Find out who your legislators are and how to contact them at:

If the legislator representing your town IS a member of the
Legislative Council,* it is very important that they hear directly
from you, their constituent, about how they plan to vote at the
November 21st Appeals meeting.

If your legislator IS NOT a member of the Legislative Council, ask
them to contact members of the Council about these bills before
November 21st.

Call your legislator (not too early or late in the day.)

If you can talk to your legislator in person that's even better.

If you are unable to speak to them directly, you can send an email,
facebook message, or text message to your Representative and Senator
and let them know:

1) Your name, your town, and briefly why this issue is important to you.

2) Ask your legislator to Support LR 2491, An Act Relating to Nursing
Home and Hospice Patients and Medical Marijuana Use.

This bill, sponsored by Senator Lachowicz of Waterville, would ensure
that patients in a hospice or nursing facility could safely access
doctor-recommended marijuana for medical use.

The legislation would not expand Maine's medical marijuana law. It
would not require a nursing facility to allow marijuana use, but it
would allow facilities the discretion on whether to and would not
allow smoking in nursing facilities.

It would restore the intent of Maine's patient-centered law that has
been in place since 1999, by removing unnecessary restrictions created
by DHHS rule changes in December 2012 that are preventing hospice and
nursing facilities from allowing medical use of marijuana in any form.

Before the Department changed its rules in 2012, a patient in a
facility was allowed to receive doctor-recommended marijuana for
medical use, in the form of tincture, edibles, inhaled through a
vaporizer, or in a medicated salve, to help with pain, nausea, sleep,
and other medical conditions. The rules have the greatest impact on
patients going through chemotherapy or in their last weeks of life.

The new rules require the hospice or nursing facility to register with
the State as a medical marijuana caregiver, which threatens their
ability to receive federal funding.

One of the most critical needs of the Maine medical marijuana
community is to ensure access to people going through chemotherapy and
those at the end of life.

Patients in Maine hospice and nursing facilities have been allowed to
access medical marijuana since 1999, when Maine's first medical
marijuana law was enacted.

From the beginning, these patients have been the backbone of Maine's
medical marijuana legislative heritage.

The bill will ensure that nursing facilities can safely ensure that
patients who are in the most pain and most in need of the benefits of
marijuana for medical use are able to access their doctor-recommended

3) Ask your legislator to Oppose LR 2329, An Act To Align Maine's
Marijuana Laws with the Guidelines Governing Taxation and Regulation
Issued by the Federal Government.

This bill, sponsored by Representative Russell of Portland, closely
resembles last year's bill to allow large-scale commercial marijuana
businesses by creating a costly new regulatory system that favors
large out-of-state investors at the expense of local caregivers.

The new bill would increase spending on unnecessary enforcement
schemes and is being rushed for approval without key stakeholder

LD 2329 does not providing needed protections for Maine small
businesses or for those people who will continue to face criminal
charges for growing and using marijuana. Time is needed to develop a
good law that generates revenue for the state and benefits as many
Maine people as possible.

4) Thank your Representative or Senator for their time, and let them
know you'll be voting for candidates who support medical marijuana
patients and caregivers in the November 2014 elections.

For more information on these bills, check out:

It's especially important if your Representative or Senator is a
member of the Legislative Council, it is especially important that
they hear from you, their constituent.

*The Legislative Council is:

Speaker Mark Eves (North Berwick): 287-1300 /

President Justin Alfond (Portland): 287-1500 /

Senator Troy Jackson (Allagash): 287-1515 /

Senator Anne Haskell (Portland/Westbrook): 287-1515 /

Senator Michael Thibodeau (Winterport): 223-5177 /

Senator Roger Katz (Augusta): (207) 287-1505 /

Representative Seth Berry (Bowdoinham): 287-1430 /

Representative Jeffrey McCabe (Skowhegan): 287-1430 /

Representative Ken Fredette (Newport): 287-1440 /

Representative Alexander Willette (Mapleton): 764-4600 /

More information and contacts for the Council members at:

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