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Maine Voters Expand Medical-Marijuana Availability

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Voters in Maine this week decisively approved a measure that will make medical marijuana more available to residents, the Bangor Daily News reported Nov. 4.

The ballot initiative, approved by 58 percent of voters, expands the list of qualifying health conditions for possessing the drug for medical use, sets up a statewide registry of approved medical-marijuana users, and will allow the establishment of medical-marijuana clinics to distribute the drug.

The measure passed despite opposition by the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the Maine Office of Substance Abuse, the Maine Chiefs of Police Association, the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, and the Maine Prosecutors Association. “This was written by self-proclaimed marijuana activists … The ultimate goal of the people behind this law is to legalize marijuana,” said Kennebec County District Attorney Evert Fowle, who nonetheless added, “We'll do our best to make this law work and respect the will of the voters.”

Ironically, some medical-marijuana users also opposed the ballot initiative because they say it would impose a bureaucratic burden and costs on medical users and dispensaries, which would face a $5,000 registration fee under the new law.

The original Maine medical-marijuana law, passed in 1999, limited medical use to four specific medical conditions.

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