Recreational marijuana in Maine facing delays

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Lawmakers put the brakes on marijuana rules and regulations

Voters in Maine legalized marijuana in 2016, but things have anything but smooth since. In the latest setback, lawmakers have postponed plans to create licensing rules and regulations for retail sales and commercial production of marijuana, citing an issue with a consulting group that was hired to help create the regulations.

BOTEC of Los Angeles lost its chance when another bidder, Freedman & Koski out of Colorado, appealed the decision to give BOTEC the $200,000 contract. Now, the process will virtually begin all over from scratch.

According to Maine Representative Teresa Pierce, “It’s time to get it up and going. And protect public safety. I think people are ready.”

Despite voters approving recreational marijuana, the state’s former governor, Paul LePage, decided he didn’t need to follow the wishes of his constituents and has consistently fought to allow legalized marijuana. However, Maine’s new governor, Janet Mills, understands her responsibilities better and says that lawmakers “must follow the will of the people [and] implement the [voter-initiated marijuana] law.”

A spokesperson for Governor Mills, Scott Ogden adds, “Governor Mills’ Administration is committed to the swift and responsible implementation of the adult use of recreational marijuana law and will do all it can to accomplish that in an expeditious manner.”

Currently, Main only allows recreational marijuana to be grown or gifted for personal use. With the latest setbacks, it’s possible that progress may not be seen until this fall when several bills are expected to be presented for public hearings.