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Bills to halt changes to medical marijuana program advance in Legislature

6/17/21--A bill that supporters believe could help save Maine’s medical marijuana program from a set of controversial proposed rule changes is one step closer to becoming law after receiving initial approval from both the state House of Representatives and Senate. Co-sponsored by Rep. Lynne Williams, D-Bar Harbor, and Sen. Troy Jackson, D-Aroostook, L.D. 1242 would halt a set of proposed rule changes to the medical program and require the Maine Office of Marijuana Policy to consult caregivers, patients, physicians and medical professionals with experience in the industry before making major changes. Read

Advocates file petition challenging Portland’s cap on marijuana stores

7/17/20--A group of marijuana advocates in Portland filed a petition Friday that seeks to remove the 20-store cap on the number of marijuana retail shops allowed under the local marijuana ordinance approved this spring. The group wants to put the question to a referendum vote in November. The petition also seeks to shrink the minimum buffer between marijuana shops from 250 feet to 100 feet. Read

State releases list showing who’s seeking marijuana business licenses

3/13/20--The Office of Marijuana Policy on Friday made public for the first time the list of about 300 people who are applying for more than 200 state licenses to cash in on Maine’s long-awaited recreational marijuana market. Applicants are seeking to do business throughout Maine, from Kittery to Presque Isle, under corporate names ranging from Green Cures to Weed Mart. Read

Adult-use marijuana bill carefully crafted to make new industry, Maine communities safer

10/21/17--Seventeen lawmakers from both parties agreed to help shape Maine’s adult-use marijuana industry as members of the Joint Select Marijuana Legalization Implementation Committee for the 128th Legislature. The draft bill, known as LR 2395, An Act to Amend the Marijuana Legalization Act, makes critical changes to the original referendum while protecting the core tenets of the law as passed by Maine voters. Read

Revenue, cost estimates hazy on marijuana implementation

10/13/17--As lawmakers prepare to vote on adult-use pot rules, a fiscal assessment has 'more cautionary notes than real projections,' according to an article published in the Press Herald. State analysts have yet to calculate the fiscal impact of Maine’s adult-use cannabis bill. Lawmakers tasked with setting up the new recreational market had projected Maine would collect about $21.4 million a year in taxes once the market matured. However, the Legislature’s nonpartisan Office of Fiscal and Program Review's proposed rewrite of a voter-approved cannabis law would have netted even more, about $27.7 million a year. Read

Marijuana convention in Portland bigger than last year’s

10/14/17--The New England Cannabis Network’s Maine Cannabis Convention in Portland comes as the Maine Legislature grapples with a rewrite of the Marijuana Legalization Act approved by a narrow margin by Maine voters last fall. Although the bill has the support of recreational marijuana advocates, its fate in the Legislature is far from certain. If the bill fails, the ballot question voters approved last November will become law – and that, the bill’s advocates say, could open up a black market for marijuana products. That market potential may explain the large crowds showing up at this year’s convention, which far exceeded the last two years. Read

Marijuana bill would let communities decide on allowing recreational pot businesses

10/10/17--According to attorney Amy Tchao of Drummond Woodsum, a last minute change to a proposed legislative rewrite of the Marijuana Legalization Act would make moratoriums and bans on recreational marijuana operations superfluous. The change would require cities and towns to approve adult-use cannabis operations, not forbid them, Woodsum said. Read

Proposed marijuana rules would let adults buy online and at drive-thrus

9/21/17--Proposed adult-use cannabis regulations from the Legislature’s marijuana committee would allow licensed retail stores to sell pot from drive-up windows and over the internet. Like any other recreational marijuana consumer, drive-up and online customers would have to show identification to the window or delivery employee to prove they are at least 21 years old. Supporters say marijuana purchase regulations should mirror those for alcohol, but opponents warn against making it too easy to buy a drug that's still illegal under federal law. Read

Conflicting advice presented to marijuana rulemakers

9/18/17--When Maine solicited advice on how to set up its new recreational cannabis market, about a dozen groups from all over the country chimed in. Responses released show opinions that varied widely, from those who want to encourage this new industry to those who would rather undo the results of the November referendum that legalized recreational cannabis use. Some want to make sure the state can capitalize on the benefits of adult-use cannabis, while others sought to avoid other states’ mistakes on the road to legalization. Read

U.S. Border Patrol in Maine warns legalization won’t halt marijuana seizures

8/28/17--Chief Daniel Hiebert, the top U.S. Border Patrol agent in Maine, cautioned residents that officers will still confiscate marijuana when they encounter it, and that even family connections to the cannabis industry can disqualify someone from federal employment. Hiebert said Maine voters’ legalization of recreational marijuana last November, and the state’s well-established medical marijuana program, do not change his agents’ obligation to follow federal law. Read

Marijuana lobbyists harvest cash from bankers, accountants, lawyers and others

9/1/17--Bankers, accountants, lawyers, real estate brokers, and other professionals hoping to serve Maine’s recreational marijuana industry spent much of the $260,000 that has been paid to State House marijuana lobbyists so far in 2017. The money being spent to influence legislation reflects the potential size of the recreational pot market: nearly $300 million in sales a year by 2020, according to one attorney involved in lobbying legislators. Read

Maine State Police seek money for training to fight black market marijuana

8/5/17--Maine State Police want more resources to train officers and to fight the flow of black market marijuana in Maine. However, they are not pushing for major changes to Maine’s existing “operating under the influence” law in the wake of marijuana legalization earlier this year, nor are they advocating for setting a legal limit for cannabis similar to the 0.08 percent blood alcohol content level used to prosecute drunk drivers. Read

Sales growth at Maine’s medical marijuana dispensaries slows drastically

5/12/17--Medical marijuana sales at Maine’s eight dispensaries are growing at the slowest rate since the first one opened in 2011. However, growth on the caregiver side of the market appears to be surging, possibly topping dispensary sales. Timothy Smale, president of the Maine Dispensary Operators Association, attributed the slower growth to patients deciding not to renew their medical certifications, and turning to the thriving black market to find cheaper marijuana products. Read