Maine proposal shifts responsibility for rec MJ implementation

Maine lawmakers seem to be going in circles.

After residents voted to legalize adult-use marijuana last year, the legislature was tasked with passing a bill to implement a new recreational cannabis industry.

But a rewrite to the implementing legislation recently would forbid recreational marijuana businesses unless municipalities expressly approve them, basically returning the state to de facto prohibition.

That’s how attorney Amy Tchao of the Drummond Woodsum law firm explained the proposed rewrite to the Maine Municipal Association’s convention, the Portland Press Herald reported.

The original ballot measure that voters approved last fall gave municipalities the right to ban recreational marijuana businesses, but lawmakers put the program on hold while a legislative committee rewrote the law. The opt-in language was added on the last day of the committee’s work on the bill.

The final draft of the bill will be available Oct. 11.

Other states have seen marijuana programs develop that are much different than what was originally voted on.

For instance, in Massachusetts, lawmakers tinkered with what the voters approved, and in Florida, one major MMJ advocate is suing lawmakers for not allowing a key component: smokable flower.