Reflections from a Trip to Oz

Bangor sign

“There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home.” Dorothy

In 2010, after practicing law in the Great State of Maine for 18 years, I had the brilliant notion of ditching my secure little life in Portland, selling everything I owned, with the exception of the few precious items that would fit in my trusty Subaru, quitting my profession, and heading off to live over the rainbow in the Southern California. For all intents and purposes, this was not such a bad idea. What it did, besides keep me warm and snow-free for a full five years, was to give me some much needed perspective. What did I confirm? Two things: 1) Change is almost always good; 2) There’s truly no place like home…especially when home is Maine.

The thing is, as Dorothy learned, paradise is wonderful, but all the sunny rays shining down on the world can’t make up for the warmth of people and places you love and that love you. I learned an entirely new business while in San Diego, met a boatload of people, and rediscovered the ability to effectively change my entire life…again. (This was not my first rodeo being a transplant.) But then I was watching a video in which a friend kept repeating, “We all need community.” It hit me hard. After five years of moving as far away from law and snow as I could get, I knew there was more to life than a sunny yellow brick road and emerald palm trees…and I was missing it.

I grew up in Hampden, graduated from the University of Maine in Orono, and still had multiple family members in the Bangor area. My 91 year old mother would only be around another, maybe 10 years? 5? 1? It was time to reconnect with that part of my life, and moving back to Bangor, where I had not lived for 26 years, was the perfect solution. No place had ever felt quite so much like home, and coming back seemed almost destined.

Fortunately, I had a variety of options regarding where to land professionally, but Tucker Law Group presented some compelling arguments for why they were the best choice. Having known these gentlemen from my prior workers’ compensation defense days, the decision was pretty much a no-brainer. While some might think it would be a challenge for a woman to enter an all-male firm, these guys are truly the best. They are smart, efficient, and occasionally quite humorous. And they play a mean softball game, to boot! As a bonus, the support staff is top-notch and a delight to be around. Frankly, I don’t think I could have found a better fit.

As for coming back to law? Well, in my world, there’s just no substitute for using your noggin on full-throttle. Having always been a problem solver, and a huge Perry Mason fan, law has been a natural fit. While the break was good…like an extra long working sabbatical…it feels even better to kick it back into gear.

Of course you’re asking, “What about the snow…are you crazy?”…I’ll update you in February. For now, I’m happy to say “Thanks for the memories, Oz!” and “Greetings, from Bangor, Maine!”

Carol McMannus

Is Medical Marijuana Compensable in Maine? Read on to find out!

medical marijuana

A Hearing Officer from the Maine Workers’ Compensation Board issued what is sure to be the first in a long line of decisions relating to the compensability of medical marijuana. In the case of Crandall v. University of Maine System, Hearing Officer Elizabeth Elwin applied DOJ guidelines  to determine whether, by paying for medical marijuana, the employer and insurer could be subject to criminal prosecution and ultimately ordered them to pay for Mr. Crandall’s medical marijuana.

After determining that Mr. Crandall’s medical marijuana use was having a positive impact on his shoulder injury management, the hearing officer reviewed a list of “enforcement priorities” issued to federal prosecutors by the Department of Justice to assess the whether or not the DOJ was likely to prosecute an insurer for, in effect, buying marijuana. Elwin pointed out that the DOJ has determined that unless the conduct in question implicates one or more of these “priorities”, it is not worth their resources to pursue prosecution, especially when it comes to seriously ill individuals and their caregivers. The DOJ’s priorities include the prevention of distribution to minors, diversion of marijuana from a state where it is legal to where it is not, violence in cultivation and distribution, and drugged driving. The Hearing Officer ultimately found that none of the priorities were implicated in the case and the employer/insurer was unlikely to be prosecuted for issuing payment.

It is virtually guaranteed that this case will make its way to the Board’s Appellate Division, and very possibly the Supreme Judicial Court. In the meantime, other hearing officers and parties across the state have a well thought out decision from which to compare their cases.

To read the full decision, click on the following link: Crandall decree 7-15-15