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Maine Legislature New Bill to Allow Recreational Marijuana Sales in 2018

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The Marijuana Legalization Implementation Committee is holding a special session on October 23. The session will discuss changes proposed to Maine’s recreational marijuana regulations. The special session comes after concerns were expressed at the September 26 meeting.

An Act To Delay the Implementation of Certain Portions of the Marijuana Legalization Act (known as LD88)’s moratorium ends in February, Maine Campus reports. The state legislature is supposed to resolve all issues regarding legalization in this time.

The first public hearing for LR 2395, An Act to Amend the Marijuana Legalization Act, was held on September 26 to discuss concerns and potential interference with approved laws. One of the laws in question is residency requirements for those wanting to open marijuana businesses. Currently, someone must be a Maine resident for 6-months to apply to open a marijuana business. Some fear that this will bring in too many out-of-state interests. Profits would be taken away from residents.

Some are also concerned about the lack of local control. Many municipalities want to have more of a say regarding marijuana businesses. Another question that remains a hot topic of debate is the recreational marijuana tax rate. The law currently calls for 20-percent, but many say that is too high. Another important issue is the host community’s cut of just 5-percent of those tax dollars being too low.

Some changes that are expected to take place include:

  • Changing residency requirements to 2-years
  • Allowing municipalities to expand home-grow thresholds to a maximum of 18 plants
  • Reducing the marijuana business and school buffer to 500-feet
  • Towns must opt-in to have marijuana businesses within town/city limits

The benefit for towns/cities is that they don’t have to put moratoriums in place anymore, but must still determine regulations in towns/cities that are welcoming retail marijuana businesses.

What isn’t going to happen, at least not right now, is internet and drive-through sales. Home delivery of marijuana isn’t on the table right now either.