Maine lawmakers sign off on recreational cannabis bill

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The Maine state House and Senate have approved legislation to allow legal adult-use marijuana sales in the state, likely by 2019 or 2020.

According to the Portland Press Herald, lawmakers apparently have enough support to override a potential veto by Republican Gov. Paul LePage, who torpedoed an earlier rec implementation bill last year.

Legislation had been held up by politics since Maine voters narrowly approved legalizing retail marijuana sales in November 2016. Lawmakers and lobbyists have been trying to hammer out a deal ever since.

If the latest compromise becomes law, Republican state Sen. Roger Katz said the bill would permit municipalities to opt-in and allow rec MJ sales, while providing some tax revenues for law enforcement and public awareness campaigns.

If the bill becomes law, Maine attorney Ted Kelleher told the Press Herald, it will likely “provide enough certainty to attract new investment” for rec cannabis companies in the state.

The compromise even made some cannabis opponents happy because it bans marijuana social clubs – a potential new avenue for the MJ industry that many entrepreneurs had hoped to tap.

The legislation also:

  • Imposes stronger limits on home growing – cutting personal limits from six plants to three – which could drive more sales at retail locations.
  • Bans cannabis deliveries and drive-thru windows.
  • Raises the tax rate on recreational sales from 10% to 20%.