The medical cannabis scene in Maine appears to be thriving.

Maine is an interesting place when it comes to cannabis policy. For a long time I thought that Maine would be one of the first, if not the first, to legalize recreational cannabis via legislative action.

It looks more likely that voters will approve recreational cannabis in Maine, with a citizen initiative appearing on the November ballot. Polling is favorable in Maine, and I'm confident the measure will pass.

Either way, the medical cannabis scene in Maine appears to be thriving, with a lot of the industry being built around mom and pop operations.

Caretakers are thriving in Maine

I have never been to Maine, and have only observed it from afar. I'm a big fan of Maine Representative Diane Russell, who has led the cannabis reform charge in the Maine Legislature for quite some time, so I have always watched for news out of Maine.

There are 8 regulated dispensaries in Maine, but that's not the only way to get safe access to medical cannabis. Patients can also go through caretakers, which operate differently than dispensaries.

Maine dispensaries are tightly regulated. Caretakers are regulated too, but not as tightly as dispensaries. In 2009 caretakers were allowed to provide for up to five patients, but it wasn't specified what duration that patient-caretaker relationship needed to be.

Now caretakers serve many customers, and after a 2013 change in state law, caretakers were allowed to hire an employee.

Huge growth

The Maine medical cannabis program has seen roughly 80% growth in the number of caretakers in the state since 2013 year over year. There are currently 2,726 caretakers registered in Maine.

The number of people employed by a caretaker has grown at an even faster rate. There were only 14 in 2013. Now there are 158.

That growth is matched by an estimated 48,000 patients in Maine, although exact numbers aren't know because Maine does not track the numbers.

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What do readers think? Would you be more likely to visit a dispensary or a caretaker if given the option, and why? Do you think that the caretaker model is unfair to licensed dispensaries, and if so, why?

How do you prefer to acquire your cannabis?

How do you prefer to acquire your cannabis?

from a caretaker
47%
from a dispensary
9%
by cultivating it myself
44%