The leaders of four Maine cannabis advocacy groups have banded together to form the Cannabis Council of Maine. 

The new council, which began informally during the most recent legislative session, includes representatives from the Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine, Maine Growers Alliance, Maine Craft Cannabis Association and Maine Cannabis Coalition. 

The advisory group said it hopes that by working together, its members can more efficiently advocate for Maine’s medical marijuana consumers and providers, known in the industry as caregivers, and help create legislation and regulations that work for everyone in the industry. 

During the legislative session, the group advocated successfully for passage of L.D. 1242, which halted a controversial set of proposed rule changes by the Maine Office of Marijuana Policy. Officials said the rules were meant to align the medical program with state law, but caregivers worried that the proposal’s required track-and-trace system, which tracks cannabis products from grower to buyer, and new security requirements would be too expensive for the industry to sustain.

Susan Meehan, president of the Maine Cannabis Coalition, said Tuesday that working together as the Maine Cannabis Council allowed them to present a unified front to regulators, making the process easier and their message stronger. 

The new legislation requires that the office consult with sellers, buyers, physicians and medical professionals with experience in the industry before making major changes. 

Meehan said she is glad that she and other industry leaders will have a seat at the table moving forward.

“For once I feel like we are in the offensive position rather than the defensive,” she said. “That’s a good feeling.” 

The rulemaking process has not started yet, but in the meantime, Meehan said the council still has plenty to keep it busy. 

Its members are working to put some bills forth in September to “correct some of the issues we still see and protect what we have accomplished,” she said. 

In particular, there are inconsistencies between the law and the rules for the pediatric certification process, Meehan said, as well as a prohibition on cooperatives that she would like to see overturned. A bill to do just that did not advance out of committee in the most recent session. 

The council’s ultimate goal is to protect the medical marijuana program, Meehan said, but it is not against the adult-use program.

“We want them to be able to coexist, and don’t want to see laws that will eliminate medical in favor of adult-use,” she said. 


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