Maine has allowed patients with a specific list of diseases and conditions to have small amounts of medical marijuana by prescription since 1999, but it took ten years for the state to implement any kind of legal distribution system. Now, the state has a growing number of people engaged in the booming medical marijuana industry.
As today is Memorial Day, I thought I’d talk about one of these “potrepreneurs,” a young veteran named Robert Rosso.
Just 25 years old, Rosso, who lives in Gardiner, Maine, and other local growers have joined forces to form a business called Kennebec Healing, which delivers hydroponically grown marijuana from three different locations to fourteen patients in the area from Waterville to Windham.
When interviewed by local press, Rosso said that some of his clients told him he was blazing a trail for medical marijuana, and even called him a pioneer.
Under Maine law, MMJ patients can obtain their pot (max of 2.5 ounces per 15-day period) either by growing their own, from one of thirteen state-approved dispensaries (many of which are not yet open), or from a state-licensed caregiver. Robert Rosso and his business partner fall into this third category, as licensed caregivers, and are allowed to provide their product to a maximum of five authorized patients, with a maximum of 2.5 ounces and six plants for each patient.
What is not prohibited is caregivers meeting to share knowledge and growing tips, so long as the amount of the harvest does not exceed state-imposed maximums. This means that non-profit groups like Compassionate Caregivers of Maine, which helps patients connect with caregivers but doesn’t actually sell marijuana, are completely legal.
On the surface, Rosso’s organization, Kennebec Healing, also seems to be legal, though it offers advice and networking as well as actual MMJ. Rosso says he also plans to start a website for the business, though only patients who have valid state registration will be able to use it, which will allow people to see what varieties of medical marijuana are available.
So why is Rosso, an Army vet who was honorably discharged after a serious injury in July, 2009, doing this? He says he started growing his own pot to manage the pain from his injury. “It has made my life a lot better,” he elaborated, adding, “A lot of people think these people [MMJ users] are hippies and stoners. That’s not it at all.”
And so, in a climate where the Federal government is going back on its promise to NOT prosecute MMJ users or distributors who operate within the laws of their states, Rosso, who fought for this country, is risking his future to help others.
The perfect summation of his philosophy comes from a line he spoke to a client, who needed an MMJ delivery at 12:30 at night becaujse of seizures: “I served my country,” he said. “I’m about helping people.”