Happy Holidays! Well, maybe it’s just a Maine cannabis holiday, but either way it’s cannabis rule making season in Maine! On Wednesday, September 6th, 2023 there was an official “kick off” party held by the Office of Cannabis Policy for the Adult-Use proposed rule change public hearing. There were about 25 people there and three news stations covering the hearing.
The 100 plus pages of rules was met with great opposition. The first person to speak came directly at testing requirements and labs for the adult use operators.
“They (the lab) have admitted to me they have messed up and said it would never happen again” the operator stated to the OCP panel. The operator doubled down and said “I once got the same sample tested at three different labs, two came back clean of pesticides and the one said it failed, and I know I did not use pesticides.”
The operator continued, “I did the same thing for THC % multiple times and a certain lab would consistently test 10%- 20% higher.” Hearing this, my ears perked up like my cats who heard me shake their treat bag, because the department has been trying to force testing in medical for years. Luckily, (some would say, me being one of them) Maine Medical does not have testing at this time.
Currently, OCP is going around randomly testing medical storefronts for “research”, but a majority of caregivers believe this data will be used to manipulate the medical market into forcing mandatory testing. This is despite the fact that many adult use operators complain testing is a failure now in their market, and apparently know how to get around strict testing requirements through the use of remediation machines.
The list of available machines is seemingly endless, here are just a few examples:
Just to name not even the first half page of Google later, you can obviously see there are literally thousands of different companies with different machines that make sure you pass testing. So, if testing is so important for our “safety”, why can these giant cannabis companies simply buy or rent these to pass their strict state requirements?
The bigger problem is that in most states, they NEVER tell you it went through one of these machines. I personally think testing should be more of a research and development and not “public safety” issue, because there isn’t enough public health data yet on cannabis to deem it “unsafe” or for it to be a “public safety” issue. In the lens for research and development it’s more like, “I wonder why I like this strain/ terp profile so much” and see why!
But to say it’s for public safety is just downright silly. It’s equal to the question of why THC caps are one of the most ridiculous issues in the cannabis policy space. When we read the THC percentage for a particular product, what does that tell us? It tells us how much THC is in that product, but what it doesn’t tell you and what we don’t have evidence data for is what x% THC means to your body, and how and why its effects can vary from person to person.
Maine’s Medical Program is currently under fire, with 94 pages of proposed medical rules from the Office of Cannabis Policy. The proposed rules dropped a couple hours after the Adult-Use public hearing ended September 6th. The first issue right off the bat wasn’t even in the rules per say, but rather in the public hearing process itself.
The Office of Cannabis Policy has no Zoom option for the MEDICAL patients that can’t make it to Augusta. I (and others) have personally dealt with OCP’s 86 pages of rules, 56 pages of which have been struck down by the legislators in the past. We had access to Zoom call-ins then without any issues.
Despite these limitations, Maine caregivers and patients plan on showing out in mass numbers in protest to these rules on Tuesday, September 26th to let their voices be heard. Luckily due to past legislation, all major changes Maine Medical rules by law have to go through a legislative process which gives Mainers a chance to stand up and use their voices to be heard!
We have a roughly 13-month battle ahead, and I want to take you along for the ride. I will be doing a future article trying to break down all the new medical rules and changes, and since its 94 pages, there’s mountains of information to dig through!
Talk to you soon LA! Much love from Maine!
About The Author
Derek Shirley was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. At the age of 19, he received a felony for 4 ounces of cannabis. After, he became a “cannabis nomad” living in Ohio, Arizona, and Maine, which he now calls home, and lives with his wife Sequoia and son Haze.
Being a cannabis nomad had its advantages, like relying on all markets for his medical cannabis needs which gives him a unique perspective of the cannabis markets. Currently, Derek operates People Not Parties Consulting, which helps local people and small businesses navigate their local and state governments without picking a political party specializing in protecting and preserving the small medical cannabis farmers of Maine. For fun, Derek enjoys screen printing and making cannabis memes under the pseudonym @gettinghighwithcats on IG.