In 2009, the Maine Medical Marijuana Act was enacted, which decriminalized possession of marijuana. The Maine Medical Marijuana Act and the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Program Rule govern the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Program (MMMP). An MMJ card (medical marijuana card) is a Maine-issued ID that allows patients with recommended health conditions to purchase marijuana for treating medical conditions. The administration of the MMMP is provided by the Department of Administrative and Financial Services (DAFS) under the Office of Marijuana Policy (OMP).
In Maine, an application for an MMJ card (registry identification card) is optional. Although to be a qualified patient under the marijuana program, individuals must have a recommendation from a medical provider registered with the OMP. MMJ cards are not limited only to the state-issued card; the printed patient certifications issued by medical providers are also a form of MMJ card. It is important to note that only medical providers registered online can give a valid printed medical marijuana certification. The registration is under the Division of Licensing and Regulatory Services (DLRS) within the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Unlike patients who may choose to register under the MMMP, caregivers must obtain an MMJ card. The only exceptions to this are the parents, legal guardians, or persons with legal custody of a minor applying for an MMJ card.
The amendment of the Maine Medical Marijuana Act in 2018 removed all "qualifying conditions" and allowed all patient access. The Office of Marijuana Policy annual report for 2019 shows that the online system used by medical providers recorded 65,368 printed certifications that year. The report also indicates that there were a total of 2,596 registered caregivers recorded in all 16 counties.
In Maine, there is no legal age restriction on who can voluntarily register under the MMMP program. Qualifying adult patients and minor patients can apply for an MMJ card. Also, primary caregivers and officials of a dispensary facility are required to apply for an MMJ card. OMP will, however, deny the registration of a voluntary qualifying patient who has a disqualifying drug offense. For instance, an individual who has been penalized for manufacturing marijuana concentrate using a hazardous substance may be disqualified from getting an MMJ card.
Voluntary registration can be done for a minor qualifying patient to acquire an MMJ card in Maine. When applying, the minor must also submit a written consent form from their parent or legal guardian, permitting them to use medical marijuana. This consent letter must be accompanied by a valid state-issued ID of the parent or legal guardian. The application must also be accompanied by a written certification to be issued by the medical provider.
If the minor designate a caregiver other than the above listed, the caregiver must also register for an MMJ card (registry identification card). The caregiver must be:
A minor can still access medical marijuana in Maine if they get issued a printed patient certification online by a registered medical provider.
In 2018, the Maine Medical Marijuana Act was amended to eliminate using the word "qualifying" for debilitating health conditions. As a result, any health condition that an individual's physician recommends medical marijuana for can be used when applying for an MMJ card.
To voluntarily apply for an MMJ card (registry identification card) in Maine, the qualifying patient can submit their completed application form to the OMP via mail. Caregivers not under section 2423-A, (3)(c) and officials of the dispensary must compulsorily register under the MMMP by applying mail.
In Maine, qualifying patients do not need to register under the MMMP or possess an MMJ card (registry identification card). Application for MMJ cards at the Maine Department of Health is voluntary for a qualifying patient who has a written certification issued by their physician. The physician issuing the written certificate must be a registered member of the Maine Board of Licensure in Medicine. The written certification must conform to the provisions of the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Program Rule. These provisions include:
The applicant must download and complete the patient designation form. The patient may send the completed form and copy of a valid state-issued photo ID via mail to:
Medical Use of Marijuana Program
Office of Marijuana Policy
162 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0162
The primary caregiver managing a minor qualifying patient should send the completed caregiver application form to the above mail address. It must be accompanied by a copy of their valid issued state photo ID.
In Maine, a primary caregiver must apply for a Maine MMIC (registry identification card) to assist a qualifying patient with the medical use of marijuana. The primary caregiver must complete the caregiver application form and send it to the:
Medical Use of Marijuana Program
Office of Marijuana Policy
162 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0162
A valid driver's license must accompany the application. The primary caregiver has more than one qualifying patient; they must apply for an MMIC for each patient. They must also possess a designation form signed by all the patients they are assisting. To be an eligible primary caregiver, the caregiver must reside in the State of Maine and be:
When the MMIC is issued to the primary caregiver, they can assist the qualifying patient in purchasing cannabis for medical use. They can also help the qualifying patient grow and cultivate marijuana up to six marijuana plants for personal use. The caregiver will need to pay an annual registration fee if they are growing cannabis for the qualifying patient. OMP will conduct a criminal background check on caregivers administering medical marijuana products on school grounds. The caregiver must obtain the criminal history record check from the Maine Criminal Justice Information System.
For caregivers incorporated as a business entity, they may obtain an MMJ card in the business's name. They must submit evidence of the business registration with the Secretary of State, along with their application. The business must also have a good standing with the Secretary of State.
It takes the Department, through the OMP, 30 days to verify information in the application before approving or denying an MMIC (registry identification card) application. If it is approved, the Department will issue an MMIC to the applicant within five days. Applications for caregivers, administering medical marijuana on school grounds, usually takes about 45 days before the Department will issue an approval or denial.
The approval of the application is not automatic. Some situations may prompt the Department to deny an application. It includes:
If the Maine Department of Health denies the application, they notify the applicant in writing stating the reasons for the denial. The applicant may request an administrative hearing per the provisions of Title 5, chapter 375, subchapter 4 of the Act.
Since registration at the OMP is voluntary, the office allows medical providers to issue printed patient certifications to qualifying patients for medical marijuana use. This service is offered online by medical providers who have registered for this service. Even though it is not a state-issued MMJ card, holders of this printed patient certification have access to the same benefit as an MMJ cardholder.
The Department does not require an annual registration fee for a voluntary qualifying patient or a visiting qualifying patient. Also, no yearly fee is needed when the parent, legal guardian, or person with legal custody of the qualifying patient is the designated caregiver. Caregivers who will not be cultivating marijuana plants for qualifying plants do not also need to pay an annual registration fee.
Caregivers who are not among those mentioned above will be required to pay the annual registration fee. They are to pay not less than $50 but not more than $240 for each group of up to six mature marijuana plants. When a caregiver cultivates more than six mature marijuana plants, they must notify the Department about it. The due fee should be made payable to the Treasurer, State of Maine. Payment may be made by bank check or money order.
To renew an MMJ card (registry identification card) in Maine is the same as applying for a new MMJ card. To renew, the qualifying patient will need to complete the patient designation form. The applicant may send the completed form, written certification, and copy of a valid driver's license with a photograph or other photographic identification via mail.
Caregivers renew their cards by sending the completed caregiver application form via mail. The form should be accompanied by a copy of a valid Maine's driver license with a photograph and the appropriate annual fee. If a cardholder loses the registry identification card, the cardholder must notify the Department within ten days and submit the proper fee. Within five days, the Department will issue a card replacement.
Yes, information used in applying for an MMJ card (registry identification card) in Maine is kept confidential by the Department. All records that may identify the applicants under MMMP are confidential and can only be disclosed as permitted by 22 Maine Revised Statutes, section 1711-C.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) provisions guarantee the protection of all patient information against disclosure without their consent. The Department, in compliance, must ensure that all information identifying a qualifying patient, patient-physician or primary caregivers in a dispensary are protected. Information on registered dispensaries is public information that anyone can access.
The Department only allows law enforcement agencies to verify the information within the scope of their investigation without breaching HIPAA provisions. Any confidential information accessed during their investigation must be handled so that the individuals cannot be easily identified. This rule also applies to state government agencies designated by the commissioner to access information necessary to produce registry identification cards or manage the program.
In Maine, the following information will appear on the face of the MMJ card (registry identification card):
No. The provisions of 22 Maine Revised Statutes, section 1711-C, only permit law enforcement agencies and government agencies designated by the commissioner to access registry information. The requester must use the information so that the individual involved will not be easily identifiable.