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Maine Rejects Tourette’S From Medical Marijuana Qualifying Conditions List


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Maine Rejects Tourette’s From Medical Marijuana Qualifying Conditions List

 

This week, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services denied a request to add Tourette’s syndrome to the state’s list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana.  If the request was approved, it would have allowed individuals with Tourette’s to obtain a medical marijuana recommendation from their physician and purchase medical marijuana at dispensaries.

 

The denial letter was allegedly issued with no explanation as to why Tourette’s was not a legitimate condition to be treated by medical marijuana.

 

The request to add Tourette’s to the list came from Dr. Dustin Sulak, who prescribes medical marijuana for his patients in Falmouth.  Sulak testified in front of a panel of physicians in November.  No one from the opposing side testified.  The panel was then responsible for making a recommendation to Health and Human Services Commissioner Christine Mayhew, who issued the decision.

 

Sulak said that a number of studies point to the effectiveness of marijuana in controlling Tourette’s syndrome, and that traditional medication is often ineffective in treating Tourette’s syndrome. “Tourette’s syndrome does have human studies showing that (marijuana) helps, and it’s not like there’s other good options,” Sulak said.

 

Tourette’s is a neurological characterized by repetitive uncontrollable movements and vocalizations called tics.  Peter Hasty, a Maine resident suffering from Tourette’s, says that if he couldn’t use marijuana to control his muscle spasms he wouldn’t be able to leave his home.

 

Sulak’s attempt to have Tourette’s added to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana in Maine is one of the first to occur through the administrative process rather than legislation.

 

According to Paul McCarrier, a lobbyist with the Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine, the legislative process has been more successful in adding approved conditions to the list.

If the DHHS does not add Tourette’s to the list of qualifying conditions by 2015, McCarrier’s group plans to lobby the Legislature to get it added.

 

Currently in Maine, the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana includes: cancer, glaucoma, HIV, hepatitis C, ALS, Crohn’s, Alzheimer’s, nail-patella syndrome, chronic pain, and PSTD.

 

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