My name is Paul T. McCarrier and I am the President of Legalize Maine, the organization that will be putting the ballot question to legalize marijuana on the 2016 ballot. While we are focused on this effort, we also advocating for medical marijuana patients and caregivers who will be affected by bills proposed in this legislature.
I am here today to testify in favor of LD 292, “An Act To Require Hospitals To Allow Patients To Provide Their Own Medications “. We believe this should become law because it helps patients who have medications at home that may not be available to them if they become hospitalized. I understand that this was not intended to pertain to medical marijuana, but my organization feels that marijuana should be considered apart of the conversation as Maine has over 15,000 medical marijuana patients and many of them face significant health issues which can require hospitalization.
If someone is hospitalized, that patient needs to be able to be honest with hospital staff about what kind of medications they are using, including marijuana. Though there is still a stigma when it comes to marijuana use, we are seeing that barrier being broken down more and more each day. From my conversations with nurses and others who have direct contact with patients, they have expressed concerns that if someone is a medical marijuana patient, and is using marijuana either before they were admitted or while admitted, that their use and dosage will not be listed on their medical chart. They have told me that while many hospitals do not officially allow medical marijuana to be used, there is a “don’t ask, don’t tell” culture around patient’s medical marijuana use. We feel that it is time that hospitals accept the fact that patients use marijuana as medicine and should work with those patients to ensure that use and dosage is tracked and recorded to ensure the patient gets the best care that can be provided by that hospital.
I ask that you please vote “ought-to-pass” to ensure that patients do not fear being honest with their medical providers and we can improve the quality of inpatient care. Thank you.