Maine hires inspectors for medical marijuana operations

AUGUSTA — In a first for Maine’s medical marijuana industry, the state has hired an outside group to inspect growing operations, a move criticized by advocates who say the process hasn’t been well-outlined.

In March, the Maine Department of Human Services signed a one-year, $167,000 contract with the Maine Sheriffs’ Association to inspect growing operations across the state. David Sorensen, a DHHS spokesman, said it’s primarily for “caregivers,” allowed under state law to grow marijuana for up to five patients who have gotten recommendations from doctors to use the drug.

There are more than 1,700 caregivers scattered throughout Maine, and many grow marijuana at their homes, presenting a challenge for the state, which regulates them. However, unlike for the eight state-sanctioned dispensaries, medical marijuana program rules don’t outline an inspection process.

That worries Paul McCarrier, a caregiver advocate and president of Legalize Maine, a marijuana legalization effort, who said...

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