Maine can’t say the Governor didn’t try. The recreational marijuana market is now officially law. It is slated to launch possibly by 2019, but most likely by 2020. Gov. Paul LePage had previously vetoed the proposed cannabis bill. But the second time around, on May 2nd, lawmakers in the state opted to override the governor.

Back in 2016, Maine voters approved recreational marijuana. But no sale and taxation regulations were passed and implemented. Now that the law has taken effect, tax dollars from recreational marijuana will go toward law enforcement and public awareness campaigns.

How the Vote Went

It has been almost 18 months since voters in Maine approved marijuana legalization. Voters said yes, but Gov. LePage continued to voice his opposition to the substance. In his latest veto letter, LePage stated that he couldn’t support a bill “in good conscience” that violated federal law. With the house voting 109-39 in favor of the veto and the Senate voting 28-6 to veto, the state is now gearing up for marijuana sales and production.

Recreational Marijuana Regulation in Maine

The Maine legislature convenes in January 2019. So, before that happens, the state needs regulatory rules that include details for licensing for both growers and retail sellers, inspection protocols, cultivation facility particulars, and state tax collections. They also need a seed-to-sale tracking system – to ensure the cannabis industry remains regulated within the state. Hopefully, this will be a black-market deterrent. The legislature must unanimously approve this new set of rules.

About Time Say Advocates

To advocates in the state, it was about time that Maine fully passed and implemented recreational marijuana – two years since initial legislation. But for those still opposed, the current marijuana regulations are still relatively reasonable. The group, Smart Approaches to Marijuana, are pleased plant ownership is now three plants down from six and that the law bans social clubs. The director of the group, Scott Gagnon, had this to say, “This is an improvement” over previous proposals, he said. “It’s going in the right direction.”

The group’s next port of call will be to work with communities that would prefer not to have dispensaries within their city limits. Additionally, other work will include: helping prevent shops from overcrowding any neighborhoods and potential social issues that may arise.

The Vote

Both sides made impassioned pleas. Sen. Scott Cyrway, a former Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E) officer spoke about potential higher risk for childhood drug problems with legalized marijuana. For those opposed, it came down to the fact that the discussion isn’t about whether to legalize or not. Maine already said, “Yes.” The job at hand is to implement and refine cannabis regulations.

So, What Does the Revised Bill Actually Allow?

Here is a rundown:

  • Social clubs prohibited.
  • Adults may consume marijuana on private property only.
  • Plant ownership reduced from six plants to three plants.
  • No cap on the number of business licenses.
  • No growing cap on recreational cannabis.
  • Only residents of Maine can obtain licenses for the first three years of sales – defined as those who have lived and paid taxes in Maine for four years plus.
  • Bans cannabis deliveries and drive-thru windows.
  • Raises the tax rate on recreational sales from 10% to 20%.

Another Market to Explore

Let Pinnacle Consultation help you invest in one of the newest marijuana markets in the country. Don’t enter it blind when we have the expertise you need to succeed. Call us at 719-330-5301 to schedule a consultation. Or email us to get started today.