A Wellness Disconnection in Maine Marijuana

maine A Wellness Disconnection in Maine MarijuanaLast week, Maine residents took to the streets to demonstrate their frustration with the state’s largest dispensary group. Protestors, a group of around thirty self-described medical marijuana users, gathered in Hallowell, Maine on Friday to publicly declare their complaints against the Wellness Connection of Maine and the “fledgling industry” which represents the marijuana cultivation and distribution services of Maine. Former patients of the clinic, including Brian Lee, spoke about the disappointment he felt when he learned that the government backed center was violating their own state law by using pesticides. “They’re treating us like we don’t know any better,” said Lee, who called out at the rally, close to the entrance of the Hallowell dispensary, “they’re treating us like we don’t know anything.” Sadly, this isn’t the first offense for the Wellness Connection of Maine. Being Maine’s largest medical dispensary service, the Department of Health and Human Services reviews the centers services and recently found that the group was guilty of a slew of state law violations, including the documented pesticide use. State officials looked into the matter, but Wellness Connection was let off the hook it seemed, eagerly signing an agreement allowing them to continue legally selling marijuana in the state. Kenneth Albert, the director of the Division of Licensing and Regulatory Services of Maine, said unexpected drop-ins and weekly status updates are among the things necessary for the Wellness Connection to keep their license in this new agreement, and that pesticide use must be phased out. The Wellness Connection must also disclose to patients in writing that pesticides have been used in the manufacturing of the product which they are about to consume, but the protesters gathered on Friday didn’t feel these actions were enough. “We don’t want any poison in our medicine, which was the whole point from the start,” Brian Lee said. Steve Brown, another former patient and now protester said that “as far as I’m concerned, Wellness, get the hell out of the state.” Brown claims he felt a discomfort in his throat and general chest area when smoking the medical marijuana product supplied by Wellness. Federal standards remain elusive in regards to the effects of pesticides on medical marijuana users, and will continue to be so until the the drug is recognized as legal nationwide. Trying to implement state laws not nationally enforced proves challenging in most cases, as it has in Maine. A toxicologist for the state claimed that the pesticides used by the Wellness Connection were either “natural substances or synthetic versions of natural substances” and this was the reason the group’s license to sell medical marijuana was not revoked. Patricia Rosi, CEO of Wellness Connection, said that after determining that the pesticides used were not of a dangerous nature, Wellness felt it was not worth it to stop the flow of medical marijuana to patients - but also claimed that the company had stopped using the selected chemical deemed pesticides as of February, and would not use them in the future. For now Wellness weed remains on the shelves but not without protest, as more people all over the country are slowly being forced into the role of marijuana industry watchdog.
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