Yesterday, the Department of Financial Services released the first draft of the rules governing Maine’s adult-use marijuana program. These rules come from the work the Marijuana Legalization Implementation Committee did over the last two years.
As required by the Maine Administrative Procedures Act, a final draft will be provided at least 20 days prior to the date of a scheduled public hearing. Following the public hearing, an additional 10-day public comment period will occur. The rules cover cultivation tier sizes, license fees, packaging rules, and much more. You can read the preliminary rules here.
After you have read the rules, the state has set up an online form to collect public feedback. You can find the form here.
We are hopeful that the rules will be approved by the legislature this session, allowing for stores to open as early as late 2019. It’s been a long and winding road, but we are almost there.
Maine lawmakers approved a bill late Monday that would establish regulations for the legal marijuana market, with the House voting 81-50 and the Senate voting 22-9 before both chambers passed the measure in an “under the hammer” or unanimous vote. This omnibus bill, LD 1650, was the culmination of nearly seven months of work by the Marijuana Legalization Implementation Committee. The bill creates the rules for licensing and regulating marijuana producers, processors, and retail establishments; sets the tax rates for adult-use marijuana; and will delay marijuana consumption social clubs until the summer of 2019.
“We commend the legislature for supporting the will of the people by passing this bill to implement a regulated marijuana market without further delay,” said David Boyer, Maine political director for the Marijuana Policy Project. “This bill was created transparently and inclusively, and while it may not be perfect, it essentially does what Maine voters wanted when they approved Question 1 last year. It is time to start working toward that goal of getting the marijuana market out of the hands of criminals and under the control of the state and legitimate businesses.”
Last week, Gov. Paul LePage and House Minority Leader Ken Fredette (R-Newport) announced legislation that would further delay legal marijuana sales and cultivation until 2019 — three years after voters approved Question 1, which made marijuana legal for adults and regulated similarly to alcohol. This moratorium bill was defeated in the legislature on Monday. Gov. LePage has also threatened to veto the implementation bill, but MPP will continue working to ensure that the voter initiative is rolled out in a timely manner.