The Maine Office of Marijuana Policy is seeking medical cannabis industry members for a new workgroup that will advise on regulatory and program issues and improvements.
The new panel will include 16 members from across the industry, including at least five registered caregivers, two registered dispensary representatives, one testing facility representative, one products manufacturing representative, three qualifying medical cannabis patients who are not also caregivers, two municipal officials and two relevant health care professionals.
The group is expected to come up with “steps that may be taken through legislation and rulemaking or developing recommendations for streamlining the office’s licensing and compliance process to ensure the medical-use program is fulfilling the hallmarks of a regulated industry,” officials said in a press release Friday.
The group’s formation comes on the heels of the passage of L.D. 1242 and subsequent law, which halted a controversial set of proposed rule changes by the 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.
The new legislation requires that the office consult with sellers, buyers, physicians and medical professionals with experience in the industry before making major changes.
It also requires that officials use existing resources to conduct a study evaluating the economic effects that any new rules or proposed changes may have.
The Office of Marijuana Policy is required to submit a report including the processes developed and the findings evaluated to the Committee on Veterans and Legal Affairs by Jan. 15.
“We look forward to the opportunity presented by convening a group of well-qualified individuals in pursuit of a shared goal to both preserve patient access and support the regulated marketplace,” Erik Gundersen, director of Maine’s Office of Marijuana Policy said in the news release.
The office is accepting applications until the end of the day Sept. 3.