Mark Barnett has been an eclectic influence in the Maine cannabis industry, to say the least. His primary message is a warning: Maine must maintain a fair and free cannabis industry if we want any of our homegrown industry to be sustainable in the face of federal legalization and corporatism. In his view, Maine is likely to be one of the only places in the world where regulatory capture is not complete, and where people will be able to cultivate and conduct commerce around cannabis freely. Our model may be the only wholesome framework to point to as a counterexample to the ‘cut and paste’ blueprint corporate cannabis is building for the world.
Mark’s work in Maine cannabis runs the gamut from grassroots policy advocacy to his medical cannabis storefront (and world class coffee shop!) in Portland called Higher Grounds. His work has continued to broaden as time goes on. Mark is a founding member of the Maine Craft Cannabis Association (MCCA) and has provided free business and regulatory advice to dozens of Maine caregivers. He has worked diligently at both the municipal and state level to protect the promise of cannabis for Maine.
As an activist in the cannabis community, Mark has fought for legislation supporting small cannabis businesses, defending the rights of cannabis patients and cannabis users, and prioritizing the economic interest of Maine’s people. Navigating the morass of legal and regulatory guidelines associated with cannabis regulation and reform can be a daunting task. Thankfully, organizations like the Maine Craft Cannabis Association help our community understand those guidelines and fight both inside and outside those lines. Mark and his team are dedicated to helping medical cannabis patients protect our right to inexpensive, premium cannabis and cannabis products from our desired cultivator. The MCCA has testified and fought on nearly every cannabis or hemp bill in the past four years. The MCCA continues to fight for the rights of cannabis users by resisting proposed rules that would dramatically over-regulate the medical program, limiting access to medical cannabis for patients and ruining Maine’s rural and small business-driven economy.As a parting message: if you’d like to help secure the future of Maine’s medical program and of fair open markets for cannabis, obtain your medical card and shop with local caregiver storefronts. Be sure to follow the MCCA on Instagram @mainecraftcannabisassoc, and on Facebook to follow action that needs your support. Mark and his team are determined that, together, we can all make a difference.