Medical Marijuana Patients & Caregivers Protest Over Dispensary’s Lax Punishment 

Last month a medical marijuana dispensary’s Auburn growing operation was sanctioned for numerous violations, including the use of pesticides in their growing facilities.Friday afternoon in Augusta, medical marijuana patients and caregivers gathered to express their outrage.They say the punishment for the dispensary was too lax.Wellness Connections was fined and ordered to stop the practice of using pesticides and notify their 2500 patients. “I did use Wellness Connection,” said former Wellness Connection patient Brian Lee. “I trusted them right from the start. The state put them in control and power and I trusted them right from the start. We have all been violated and I’m very sad about that.”Caregivers argue the sanctions handed down on Wellness Connection reinforce their position that the caregiver model is a safer and more efficient alternative to large grow dispensaries. “By allowing them to continue to sell their poison medicine, that just doesn’t seem right,” said caregiver Eric Fryeburg. “Why are caregivers giving them $300 a patient if they’re not going to enforce regulations.”A spokesperson from Wellness Connection released a statement Friday saying pest control is a major concern in their growing operations. “In February, we suspended the use of any pest control substances. Prior to that time, we used materials commonly applied in the industry.”Last month Wellness Connections was fined for more than 20 violations. They’re still allowed to sell the marijuana that was treated with pesticides, even though a state official said he doesn’t know whether it could harm patients.