BANGOR, Maine — Entrepreneurs, caregivers, physicians, patients and people who believe pot should be legalized for recreational use packed the third annual Home Grown Maine trade show Saturday.
Sponsored by the Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine, the show featured a combination of exhibitors and workshops. Information offered ranged from information on greenhouses and grow room construction to security systems to organic cultivation to business formation and taxes.
“This is the best turnout we’ve had in three years,” Paul McCarrier, who helped organize the show, said as people streamed into the Spectacular Event Center on Griffin Road in Bangor. “We had 500 people come through the doors in the first hour and a half and had to use the parking lot at [the Department of Health and Human Services] office. People are really interested in seeing what we can do for them and they are looking at future employment.”
More than 4,000 people attended the one-day event, he said Saturday night in an email.
McCarrier said that there are 1,400 caregivers in Maine, who employ 500 people. With just eight dispensaries in Maine, more caregivers and providers are needed.
“We need to break the green ceiling and let small medical marijuana businesses grow and thrive in Maine,” he said.
Lewis Rosero of Columbus, N.J., said that he and his brother came to the show looking for information on how to become caregivers in Maine.
“I’m looking for a way to make a living for my family and live in peace,” Rosero, who has been a general contractor for 15 years, said. “I plan to move up here and provide people with the medicine they need.”
Shelly Baker and Wade Sickler of Brownville Junction came looking for seeds. They both have prescriptions for medical marijuana and grow only for themselves. They came to the show to learn more about how different strains of marijuana are used to treat different ailments.
“It’s very hard to find new strains legally,” she said. “Here, we found all kinds of seeds and made new connections.”
Dr. Dustin Sulak, an osteopath with offices in Falmouth and Manchester, is a leading proponent of medical marijuana use in Maine. He has advocated before the Legislature and helped found the group that sponsored the show.
“My role is bridging the gap between the scientific research with clinical practice and patient use,” he said Saturday.
Jason Draizin of Long Island, N.Y., created an online database that helps match patients to physicians who are familiar with recommending medical marijuana as treatment. Drazin said that he is working to expand marijuanadoctors.com and gather more scientific information in searchable databases.
“I’ve been to all three of these shows and they just keep growing and getting better,” Jeff Clapp of Brunswick said. “The stigma of marijuana use being lifted is a good thing. There have been too many scare tactics used over the years about its use.”
For more information about Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine, visit www.mmcmonline.org.
Correction: In a previous version of this story, Jason Draizin’s last name was misspelled. It has been corrected,