Implementation of Maine’s adult-use program begins

 

Last update: June 8, 2017

 

In January, the Maine Legislature passed LD 88, an emergency bill to clarify that marijuana is only for adults 21 and over, set a personal possession limit of five grams of concentrated marijuana, and push back the rulemaking deadline to February 2018.

The next act of the legislature was establishing a Joint Select Committee on Marijuana Implementation, which has met a handful of times already. This group of legislators will craft the regulatory structure of Maine’s adult-use marijuana program.

The first bill passed by Maine’s House and Senate is LD 243, which would transfer the authority to oversee adult-use marijuana from the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to the Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations within the Department of Administrative and Financial Services (DAFS). The Bureau would be responsible for licensing adult-use marijuana businesses and creating and enforcing regulations. LD 243 also allocates $200,000 to the Joint Select Committee on Marijuana Legalization Implementation and $1.4 million to DAFS to implement Question 1. The bill is now sitting on the Appropriations table and once appropriated it will go to the governor’s desk for his signature.

The Joint Select Committee will continue to meet in the summer and fall, after the legislature adjourns. We will be working closely with the committee to make sure Maine’s adult-use marijuana is set up swiftly and responsibly.

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Legal marijuana in Maine

 

On November 8, Maine voters passed Question 1, which legalized, regulated, and taxed marijuana like alcohol. The Marijuana Policy Project was a primary sponsor of Question 1. You can read the text here.


Medical marijuana in Maine

 

Maine voters passed the state’s medical marijuana law, Ballot Question 2, into law on November 2, 1999 with 61% of the vote. The law was improved by a ballot initiative in 2009 (Question 5) to allow dispensaries and add additional qualifying conditions. All eight dispensaries are currently up and running and no major problems have been reported.

In 2011, the Maine Legislature passed legislation making patient registration optional in order to preserve patient privacy and tweaking several other portions of the law. You can read a summary of those changes here.


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