Maine Medical Cannabis Task Force Pushes Back on Track-and-Trace Requirement
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Maine Medical Cannabis Task Force Pushes Back on Track-and-Trace Requirement

Right now, the track-and-trace system is in place for the state’s relatively new adult-use market.

January 26, 2022

A medical cannabis task force has delivered its promised recommendations to Maine’s Office of Marijuana Policy: recommendations that are meant to assess the market’s current framework and suggest a helpful, accessible path forward.

One major target of the task force’s work over the past few months? Seed-to-sale tracking. And, long story short, the task force has come out against the mandate of such a system.

According to the Portland Press Herald, “the group soundly rejected the policy office’s previously proposed requirement that the medical market adopt a ‘track-and-trace’ product tracking system.” This has been a point of contention between Maine’s caregiver-led medical cannabis space and the policymakers charged with developing robust regulations to match the broader U.S. cannabis industry’s evolution. 

The task force—which includes cannabis business stakeholders and patients—concluded that the state’s tracking system should be required solely for licensed dispensaries. Caregivers, of whom the state counts around 3,000, would be given voluntary standing with the system, according to the task force’s proposal.

Right now, the track-and-trace system is in place for the state’s relatively new adult-use market.

The concern on the medical side of the marketplace is that track-and-trace compliance would be a significant financial hurdle, particularly for the state’s caregiver population.

“That kind of draconian, drug war, anti-crime approach to cannabis regulation has no place in our society,” Mark Barnett, owner of Higher Grounds and chair of the Maine Craft Cannabis Association, told the newspaper.

The task force’s report laid the sentiment bare: “The consensus of the group was that [medical program] participants should not be required to use Metrc. … The extent to which mandatory testing may be introduced to a program which has not previously required it will be an important policy discussion to undertake.”

Looking ahead, the state Legislature’s Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee will continue to review the task force’s proposal.

Maine maintains more than 100,000 registered medical cannabis patients amid a state population of some 1.4 million.