medical pot

Hospitalized patients may soon be able to access medical pot. Legislation recently signed into law by Maine Gov. Paul LePage, LD 726, permits qualified patients to access non-inhaled preparations of medical marijuana in hospitals. Under the law, neither the hospital administration nor its staff is subject to criminal, civil, or disciplinary action for permitting patients to use cannabis during their admission.

Patients would not necessarily be provided or administered medical marijuana by hospital staff, but could be provided cannabis products by third parties.

Maine’s governor is not one who is typically associated with progressive drug policies. In the past, he’s suggested public executions for illicit drug traffickers

Maine is the first state to explicitly provide immunity to hospitals that permit patients to medicate with cannabis. Similar language is pending in Connecticut as part of legislation to expand that state’s medical cannabis law. That bill, HB 5450, would permit nurses to administer marijuana to qualified patients. It awaits action from Gov. Dannel Malloy.

Separate provisions in LD 726 establish licensing protocols for marijuana testing facilities and the labeling of medical cannabis products.


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About Paul Armentano

Paul Armentano is the Deputy Director of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, and a Senior Policy Advisor at Freedom Leaf. He also serves on the faculty of Oaksterdam University. Mr. Armentano’s writing and research on marijuana policy have appeared in well over 750 publications, scholarly and/or peer-reviewed journals, as well as in more than two dozen textbooks and anthologies. He is the co-author of the book Marijuana is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink? (2009, Chelsea Green), which has been licensed and translated internationally, and more recently, The Citizens’ Guide to State-by-State Marijuana Laws (Whitman Books, 2015). Mr. Armentano is the 2013 Freedom Law School Health Freedom Champion of the Year and the 2013 Alfred R. Lindesmith award recipient in the achievement in the field of scholarship.

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