Maine medical cannabis industry set to expand if governor doesn’t veto

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Legislation that would expand Maine’s medical cannabis industry from eight dispensaries to 14 over the next three years and possibly boost sales significantly is headed to Gov. Paul LePage after lawmaker approval this week.

It’s unclear, though, what LePage will do. The governor, a vociferous opponent of legalized marijuana, has 10 days to decide whether to veto the bill once it is on his desk.

With eight dispensaries, MMJ sales in Maine hit $24.5 million in 2017, according to state figures, but that was down from $26.6 million in 2016.

Additional dispensaries could boost sales, but a rec MJ industry – which could launch by late next year – could cut into MMJ sales, as it has done in Colorado.

According to the Portland Press Herald, here are some other key changes the legislation covers in what has been a heavily regulated MMJ industry in Maine:

  • Doctors authorizing medical marijuana would no longer be constrained to a specific list of patient conditions. They could prescribe MMJ to patients for any ailment or condition.
  • Caregivers would be allowed to expand their operations and open retail stores in towns that have approved such MMJ operations. However, caregivers would be subject to more regulatory oversight, including seed-to-sale tracking and unannounced state inspections.

Maine also finally passed a rec MJ implementation bill this year, overriding LePage’s veto. Technical rules still must be written and reviewed by lawmakers.