Pubdate: Wed, 23 Aug 2000
Source: Bangor Daily News (ME)
Copyright: 2000, Bangor Daily News Inc.
Author: Associated Press


VASSALBORO -- The limits in Maine's medical marijuana fail to take into
account lower-income people who must grow the plant outside their homes
during summer to stock up for winter, according to a Vassalboro man who
was arrested for having more marijuana than the law allows.

Carroll Cummings, 53, said bail conditions from his recent arrest for
having too much marijuana means he no longer can use the drug to treat
his condition.

Cummings was arrested because he had more than the six plants and 1/ 
ounces of processed marijuana the law allows patients to possess. He 
had 37 plants and 1 pound of processed marijuana at his Nelson Road 
trailer, said Kennebec County Sgt. Randall Liberty. He is charged with 
unlawful trafficking in scheduled drugs and marijuana cultivation.  

The problem is the law, said Cummings, who disputes the number of
plants police said they seized but admits to having more than the law

It isn't practical for low-income Mainers who must grow their plants 
outside during the short growing season, he said. He said he buys by 
the pound rather than the ounce because it is cheaper to buy in bulk, 
just as it is at the grocery store.  

"I didn't write the medical marijuana law, but if I had, I92d write tha
you can have enough to get through until you can replenish your 
supply," he said. "I can't grow pot in the winter."  

He also denied that he was selling marijuana and insisted scales found
by police were so he could make sure he got what he paid for.

"When you buy shoes, you try them on to make sure they are the size
advertised, don't you?" he asked.

Police also said that Cummings did not have the required note from his
doctor saying he could benefit medically from use of the drug. Cummings
said he has a letter but could not find it.

The law approved in November limits medical marijuana use to those who
have nausea, vomiting or wasting syndrome from AIDS; who are undergoing
chemotherapy; who have glaucoma; or who have chronic seizures or muscle

Patients must be under a physician's care and must discuss the use of
medical marijuana with the physician.

Cummings' doctor, Dr. John Woytowicz, said Cummings is a good example 
of someone who meets the criteria of Maine's medical marijuana law. "He 
has worked very closely with the medical field to try other 
alternatives. He has a very unusual problem," Woytowicz said.  

"Staying within the law is tricky," the doctor added. "I think his 
intentions were good."  

Cummings suffers from muscle-hardening torticollis that he says has 
ruined three discs in his neck. He also suffers from a condition that 
is deteriorating the bones in his back and hips, he said.  

Since he can no longer use medical marijuana to treat his pain, he has
had to turn to morphine, he said.

"I have bona fide proof I'm a medical marijuana patient," Cummings
said. "If I can't do this without being harassed by the vegetable
police, then nobody's safe." 
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