Pubdate: Mon, 21 May 2001
Source: Bangor Daily News (ME)
Copyright: 2001 Bangor Daily News Inc.
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


Doctor Authorizes Man's Use Of Medical Marijuana

PORTLAND -(AP)- Prosecutors have agreed to drop their case against a
Portland man charged with possessing medical marijuana without a
doctor's permission.

Charles Wynott was charged with possession of marijuana in December, but
he said he needed it for medicinal purposes. Wynott, who has AIDS,
produced a note from his doctor in Florida.

But Maine's new medical marijuana law says such a letter must be from a
doctor licensed in Maine.

The state gave Wynott time to find a Maine doctor willing to write him a
note, and postponed prosecution a second time when Wynott had difficulty
finding a doctor.

This week his own family practitioner, Dr. Owen Pickus, signed a letter
on his behalf and the district attorney's office agreed to drop the
charge on Friday.

Pickus is an osteopathic doctor who specializes in cancer and AIDS.

"No doctors in the state of Maine wanted to touch the issue," said
Wynott, who helped draft the legislation that Maine voters passed in

"I'm sure every doctor in the state of Maine is guarded," he said.
Doctors have been wary to write notes for patients because marijuana is
not an FDA-controlled drug and its distribution is illegal under federal

Marijuana, advocates say, helps reduce nausea that is often associated
with drugs prescribed for AIDS, cancer and other diseases. By taking
marijuana, patients can take their medication and eat.

Wynott's doctor's note came the same day the U.S. Supreme Court ruled
that distributing marijuana, even for medical purposes, is against
federal law.

Maine legislators have been considering a trial distribution system in
one county.

State law allows patients with doctor permission to possess small
amounts of marijuana, and to grow up to six marijuana plants for their
own use.

Advocates for medical marijuana say patients should be able to buy
marijuana through pharmacies or cooperatives.

"The access thing is the main thing," said Wynott. "Now that I'm legal
to get it, to have it, the fact of the matter is I can't get it."
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