Medical Marijuana Advocates Gather At State House 

Medical marijuana advocates are convinced the drug is an effective treatment for many ailments. Today they gathered at the state house in a bid to convince lawmakers of its value.

The Maine Medical Marijuana Act has been evolving since voters approved it back in 2009. But advocates say there’s still a long way to go before the criminal stigma attached to the plant goes away.

“It’s one patient at a time. If that patient benefits from cannabis their families benefit,” said Glenn Peterson, Executive Director of the Canuvo Medical Cannabis Dispensary.

Friday was “Cannabis Education Day” at the Maine State House and Peterson caregivers and others on-hand to answer any questions lawmakers had about the medicinal uses of marijuana.

A new bill that would allow nurse practitioners to recommend medical marijuana has already passed the House and Senate and is awaiting the governor’s signature. Patricia Philbrook has been a nurse practitioner for more than 20-years and says she’s sold on the medicinal value of cannabis.

“I would say 80% of my patients are off all opiates and muscle relaxants within a year,” Philbrook said. “It takes gradually to go off but they themselves want to come off that’s without coaxing. The surprising thing is many patients stop smoking cigarettes. They stop using alcohol, it has a lot of extra benefits.”

Currently, nine conditions and related symptoms can be treated with marijuana and it’s up to the legislature to decide when to add conditions to that list. Folks here are hoping to eventually leave that decision up to doctors who they say know better than lawmakers.