Maine police await clarity from Trump administration on pot enforcement

February 24th, 2017 by admin No comments »

Maine police are waiting for clarity around a signal from the Trump administration that it may crack down on states that legalized recreational use of marijuana before commenting on what it could mean for Maine.

In a news briefing Thursday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said he expects states to be subject to “greater enforcement” of federal laws against marijuana use. President Trump sees “a big difference” between the use of marijuana for medical purposes and for recreational purposes, Spicer said. But he said that states’ allowance of marijuana for recreational purposes “is something the Department of Justice, I think, will be further looking into.”


As of Friday evening, the Justice Department had declined to comment on Spicer’s remarks.

In November, Maine voters narrowly approved legalizing recreational marijuana. Adults over age 21 can now legally possess and cultivate marijuana for personal use, and the state and local authorities are developing regulations for retail sales. It’s not clear what effect a federal policy change would have in Maine.

Robert Schwartz, executive director of the Maine Chiefs of Police Association, said the organization would not comment until a change of policy was announced. The chief’s association fiercely opposed legalizing recreational marijuana in Maine, because of concerns it could expose children to the drug and increase the numbers of impaired drivers in the state.

In the wake of the vote, the association said it would work with lawmakers to make the recreational marijuana law better,

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News Briefs | | Kennebunk Post

February 24th, 2017 by admin No comments »

All is fine with public works plow sign

Kennebunk has resolved the issue with the new sign at the highway garage on Sea Road, made from a 1950s-era V-style plow.

According to Kennebunk Director of Community Planning Chris Osterrieder, the fact that the sign is letter painted on a plow is not an issue.

Under town ordinance, “almost anything” can be deemed a message-conveying sign. However, the rules limit total sign area in the suburban residential zone to 36 square feet, Osterrieder said, and the plow face measured 32 square feet. The issue was resolved by taking down a separate sign marking the recycling and transfer station and filing a $30 permit application fee.

The transfer station is due for a $1.7 million upgrade next year, and that may trigger a site plan review and request to replace the recycling sign.

“Although there are some exceptions for directional signs, it is unlikely they would be able to expand the overall amount of signage they will get, and they’ll likely have to go before the zoning board of appeals at that time,” Osterrieder said.

Marijuana moratorium vote set for Feb. 28

Kennebunk voters will have a chance on Tuesday, Feb. 28, to vote on passage of a six-month moratorium on permits for retail sale and commercial cultivation of marijuana.

Polls will be open from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. So far, interest in the measure has been scant. According to Town Clerk Merton Brown, less than 50 people had cast early absentee ballots as of Feb.

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February 23rd, 2017 by admin No comments »

Now that lawmakers have given themselves more time to revise regulations on the sale of marijuana in Maine, they should focus on two questions: Which state agencies should craft and enforce the regulations for cultivation and sale of marijuana? And where will the funding come from to pay for this oversight and other state responsibilities related to the new law legalizing the use and sale of marijuana for recreational purposes?

A referendum approved by Maine voters in November called for the state’s Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to write the new rules needed to regulate the sale of marijuana. Gov. Paul LePage, at the last minute, suggested that the Bureau of Alcohol Beverages and Lottery Operations would be better suited to this task.

He may be right, but lawmakers are right to want to fully consider this change, including allowing the public to weigh in. The Department of Health and Human Services oversees the state’s medical marijuana program, so it should be involved in the rulemaking, and perhaps oversight, process as well. The Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services particularly should not be overlooked.

LePage didn’t wait for this debate, although House Speaker Sara Gideon had already introduced a bill to shift the oversight to the bureau. Last week, after insulting Gideon, he signed an executive order placing regulation in the hands of the bureau, but that shouldn’t stop lawmakers from more fully considering this change, including hearing from experts and the

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The Latest: Maine alcohol bureau to have marijuana oversight

February 23rd, 2017 by admin No comments »

PORTLAND, Maine — The Latest on the first day of legalized marijuana in Maine (all times local):

3:10 p.m.

Maine Gov. Paul LePage says he’s using an executive order to shift oversight of licensing and enforcement relating to legal marijuana.

LePage sparred with state lawmakers about who should have authority over marijuana sales in Maine. He gave the authority to the Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations on Monday.

The order is an outgrowth of a row LePage had with lawmakers last week about his desire to move oversight from the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to the Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations.

The Republican governor says the alcoholic beverages bureau has expertise in managing retail sales, licensing and enforcement, and thus should have oversight.


1:10 p.m.

A committee of Maine lawmakers that will work to implement the rules around legal marijuana will get started this week.

Maine Senate President Michael Thibodeau announced the members of the Select Committee on Marijuana Legalization Implementation on Monday.

The Waldo Republican says the committee faces a tremendous amount of work related to safeguarding public safety, regulating retail sales of marijuana and crafting state government oversight rules.

He says the committee will make recommendations to the full state legislature.

The state has until February 2018 to craft rules about legalization. Use, possession and home growth are all legal as of Monday.


11:20 a.m.

Opponents of legalized marijuana in Maine say they will continue fighting to make sure its implementation is done with public safety in mind.

It became legal to

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Maine lawmakers review marijuana policies adopted by other states

February 23rd, 2017 by admin No comments »

AUGUSTA — Lawmakers began the long process of guiding Maine’s transition into the marijuana marketplace on Tuesday by reviewing policies in other states that have legalized the drug and outlining their priorities for the months ahead.

While recreational marijuana became legal for Mainers age 21 and older on Jan. 30, retail sales of cannabis products are still at least a year away, so state agencies have time to craft rules for licensing, regulation and enforcement. The 17 members of the Legislature’s Committee on Marijuana Legalization Implementation are expected to help with that complex process as they review the legalization process in other states and analyze more than 50 bills related to marijuana that have been introduced by lawmakers this session.

Sen. Roger Katz, R-Augusta, the committee’s co-chairman, said Tuesday he hopes the committee can consolidate many of those proposals into a single bill – or several bills – for consideration by the full Legislature in the 2018 session. If there’s one consistent message he’s heard from policymakers in other states, Katz said, it is that Maine shouldn’t move too fast to allow retail sales of a drug that is still considered illegal under federal law.

“We can’t finish this by June,” Katz said, referring to the Legislature’s statutory adjournment date. “If we are going to do this in a thorough way, we are going to continue this at least into the summer.”

On Tuesday, committee members began exploring some of the policy differences in three of the four states –

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Houlton approves recreational marijuana facilities ordinance

February 23rd, 2017 by admin No comments »

HOULTON, Me (WAGM) The town of Houlton approved a marijuana ordinance Tuesday night and many are excited about what this could mean for the community.

The town held a public hearing last night about adding recreational marijuana facilities to their zoning ordinance. The facilities would be in the town’s industrial park.

According to town manager Butch Asselin, there was about an hour and a half of discussion before the council voted.
Folks on both sides spoke, and the council vote went unanimously in favor of the ordinance.

Asselin says the ordinance includes retail marijuana cultivation facilities, retail marijuana products manufacturing, retail marijuana establishments, social clubs, and testing facilities.
He says the town being an agricultural community with low power rates gives it huge potential.

“The council’s approval last night proclaimed houlton’s acceptance to engage in commercial retail marijuana facilities and other establishments — we are the first if not one of the first towns to do this. Most of the towns are voting on moratoriums and we’ve taken the opposite view and are being proactive,” said Asselin.

Asselin says there are several investors in our state looking at towns and seeing where it might be feasible to establish a business and he wants Houlton to be one of the first communities they look at.

He adds that there’s still plenty of work to do and the town plans to hold a number of workshops beginning in March.

We spoke with folks on both

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Marijuana and the law – Biddeford – Saco

February 22nd, 2017 by admin No comments »

BIDDEFORD – Biddeford resident and Maine state Sen. Susan Deschambault has been appointed to the Joint Select Committee on Marijuana Legalization in Augusta, and its first meeting was held Tuesday, Feb. 7.

The 17-member committee is composed of eight Republicans, eight Democrats and one Independent. An ad hoc committee created by the Senate, it is responsible for “developing a regulatory framework for the implementation of the voter-approved recreational marijuana law, most importantly the licensing, regulation and taxation of retail marijuana businesses,” according to Mario Moretto, communications director for Maine Senate Democrats.

The committee will also serve as the jurisdiction entity for the dozens of laws related to marijuana that were submitted for consideration this legislative year.

Deschambault said the Legislature wants progress to be made by October, but the current legislative session only goes until June, with the summer and fall off, so a motion was passed unanimously to extend the deadline by three months, bringing the deadline to February 2018 to have regulatory framework completed. The framework refers to the language surrounding the laws, licensing, regulation and taxation of marijuana.

“We’ll have the work done around the fall or around the holidays – done as in put together – and it will be voted by the full Legislature,” she said.

So far, legislative staff in Augusta has compiled a “couple-inches-thick” set of documents that includes language about the current law, proposed law, “dos and don’ts,” examples of other laws and a glossary, Deschambault said.

“The whole committee is not a staff of 25-year-olds,” she

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Supply store blooms in Blue Hill

February 22nd, 2017 by admin No comments »


Anne Berleant

Catering to indoor and outdoor home growers, the Gravelwood Farm Grow Store plans a mid-March opening, in about 1,200 square feet of space on the Ellsworth Road.

“I think we’re going to create a nice little shop,” owner Dan Brown said.

Brown hopes to fill a gap in demand for organic indoor hydroponic and outdoor growing supplies, most of which he said are not available locally, especially organic fertilizer.

“You don’t want to just put MiracleGro down,” he said, because the chemicals will end up in a product grown to be smoked.

Brown, a licensed medical marijuana caregiver, is not afraid to state the obvious, that his new business is prompted by the legalization of marijuana passed in the November 2016 election. Brown said that he foresees current clients starting their own cultivation of plants, a prime reason for opening the store.

“Everyone in the state has the right to grow marijuana,” he said. “This [store] has everything you need to do that.”

While medical marijuana laws have not changed, individuals will no longer need to go through the process of having a doctor prescribe marijuana in order to grow it.

“I think the future of the industry has really forced me into it,” he said. At the same time, Brown said he saw an opportunity to open a store and offer supplies and information.

“As I’m losing clients [as a caregiver], I can still work with those same people, and recommend products,” he said.

Legal retail marijuana sales and cultivation is still months away, with

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Documents say Troy baby died from blunt force trauma

February 22nd, 2017 by admin No comments »

BELFAST — Miranda Hopkins, the 32-year-old woman from Troy charged with murder in connection with the killing of her infant son, allegedly told authorities that one of her autistic children might have smothered or crushed the baby to death, according to newly released court documents.

But she changed her story to police as well, allegedly conceding that she was too drunk to remember what happened.

Miranda HopkinsMiranda Hopkins

Miranda Hopkins, of Troy, made her first appearance Tuesday in Belfast District Court on a murder charge in connection with the death of her 7-week-old son.Miranda Hopkins, of Troy, made her first appearance Tuesday in Belfast District Court on a murder charge in connection with the death of her 7-week-old son.

Miranda Hopkins, of Troy, is flanked Tuesday by defense attorneys in Belfast District Court after an initial appearance on a charge of murder in connection with the death of her 7-week-old son.Miranda Hopkins, of Troy, is flanked Tuesday by defense attorneys in Belfast District Court after an initial appearance on a charge of murder in connection with the death of her 7-week-old son.


In a police affidavit filed with the court, the baby’s cause of death is listed as blunt force head injuries that included cuts and bruises on the head and skull, rib fractures, and bleeding on the surface of the brain.

Hopkins is charged with knowing or depraved indifference murder,

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It may be legal to grow marijuana in Maine, but it’s not easy to get …

February 20th, 2017 by admin No comments »

“So he grows a little garden in the backyard by the fence / He’s consuming what he’s growing nowadays in self-defense / He gets out there in the twilight zone / Sometimes when it just don’t make no sense.”

The Old Hippie from the 1985 Bellamy Brothers song will have an easier time tending his backyard marijuana now that it is legal in Maine. Legal to light up, that is. It’s not yet legal to buy it.


IT IS NOW LEGAL to grow up to six flowering marijuana plants, 12 immature (non-flowering) plants and unlimited seedlings in Maine.

SEEDLINGS ARE legally defined as under 24 inches tall and less than 18 inches wide.

INDOORS OR OUTDOORS, each plant must be labeled with your name and driver’s license number or similar identification number.

IT IS STILL ILLEGAL to sell marijuana of any type – including seeds or cuttings. Also, federal laws that regulate interstate shipping prohibit you buying seeds or cuttings even from states where marijuana is legal. Marijuana seeds are offered for sale on the Internet, but buying them is not legal.

IF YOU ARE GROWING marijuana outside, the location cannot be visible from a street without binoculars. You also must make an effort – fences or something similar – to keep out anyone under the age of 21.

YOU CAN KEEP all the marijuana produced by the six mature plants it is legal to raise. Dave Boyer, political director for the Maine Marijuana Project, which directed the campaign

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