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Keeping it Craft

Webster’s dictionary defines medicine as; “a substance or preparation used in treating disease.” Cannabis, by this definition is a medicine, and has been used as such for thousands of years. Drug companies such as Solvay Pharmaceuticals, have been using the cannabis plant and different compounds modeled after naturally occurring ones, for decades. Drugs such as Marinol (used to treat nausea and vomiting caused by cancer treatment), and Sativex (a whole plant medicinal cannabis extract indicated for the relief of multiple sclerosis (MS) symptoms and the treatment of severe neuropathic-related cancer pain.), are soaring towards 9 figure markets with goals of conglomerations and profits. But, where does that put the little guy? How can your average small-time caregivers compete against these corporations? We can’t.

Recent personal experience shows the hoops a medical cannabis provider is forced to jump through. Reclassification of space, constant changes in rules, regulations, and the fickle market are more than enough to scare off most of the smaller competition. Municipalities charging egregious fees, sometimes above even what is requested from a state level (the people who actually enforce and provide oversight). Lewiston, for example, requires a $5,000 licensing fee for any storefront—additionally beyond any licensing required at the state level. $5,000 just to be told that you’re allowed to conduct business in a municipality. Licensing for medical and adult use cannabis can be 50x more costly than any other business. This legalization bid has been nothing more than a money grab. Cities and towns are jumping on board for tax revenue rather than the reasons of helping the community. Allowing big money investors to lobby their way to the top, antiquated laws, and ancient public officials have made this nothing short of an arduous uphill battle. The larger cities are basically holding growers at gunpoint, forcing regulation after regulation, cost after cost. 

When you scale up operations you remove the “craft” from the equation. 100’s of lights looks really cool on paper, but what sort of quality control can you expect? Do we want Wal-Mart weed? Our state has always been proud of locality. Standing up for our citizens and our own rights. Why now, when it comes to our world famous cannabis, are we allowing ourselves to be pushed out by corporations. Companies which cannot provide the craft—let alone give back to the community, funded by large out of state interests are slowly taking hold. 

It’s almost like these local governments operate with no foresight on how it may affect the community. Pay your ridiculous fees—oh you can’t, well this guy here can so now you’re shit out of luck. It’s nigh impossible to jump into this business without strings of silent investors and out of state money. The moral of the story is, we allowed far too much local government boundary overstepping. The overregulation is spiraling out of control with no end in sight. At least we have summer coming through, right?

- Jake

Maine Potcast Contributor

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