Maine legislative leaders agree on deal to delay parts of Maine marijuana law
AUGUSTA (WGME) – Lawmakers say they need more time to come up with rules around legal pot, so Maine's senate president and house speaker are looking to delay major provisions of Question 1.
David Boyer led the Yes on 1 campaign in Maine, which voters passed in November by a few thousand votes. The referendum gave lawmakers nine months to finalize the rules and regulations governing the legalization of marijuana.
"If Colorado can do it, be the first state to regulate marijuana, Maine sure as heck can as well,” Boyer said. “We've been regulating medical marijuana successfully. And there's no reason we can't regulate adult use of marijuana."
The bill calls for a 1-year moratorium on marijuana sales to adults. It would also ensure marijuana is not legal for youths and prohibit marijuana edibles.
Senate President Mike Thibodeau says this plan gives the state more time.
"This is not trying to circumvent what the voters passed at the ballot box," Thiodeau said.
But not every lawmaker is on board with this new delay.
Senate Democrat Dave Miramant says delaying legalization does more harm than good.
"We are trying to get this product out of the hands of kids by taking it out of drug dealers' hands, and putting it where you have to show an ID, have to pay taxes,” Miramant said. “It'll support drug education in our state."
For now, adults in Maine are allowed to have two and a half ounces of marijuana, but it can only be used at home.
"The governor promised that if the people of Maine passed marijuana legalization, he would support it,” Boyer said. “This doesn't seem like supporting it."
Lawmakers expect to have the marijuana rules and regulations in place by February 1, 2018. But unless both houses pass this as emergency legislation, it will be at least another three months before any marijuana can be sold or taxed in Maine.