Maine and other states that have legalized the recreational use of marijuana face a growing cloud of uncertainty following signals of a possible enforcement crackdown from the Trump administration. In Augusta today, a panel charged with implementing Maine’s new marijuana law heard from stakeholders directly affected, including the state’s business community.
Committee co-chairman Sen. Roger Katz, a Republican from Augusta, opened the crowded hearing by acknowledging the daunting task the panel faces in implementing the new law.
“Details of licensing and oversight and public safety and public health and all the rest of the things that other states have already struggled with,” he says.
And there are many unanswered questions around how the fee and taxing scheme outlined in the citizens initiative will actually work.
Some attending the hearing were seeking insight into how the state’s medical marijuana system can be integrated with the regulations around recreational use. Several users of medical marijuana expressed fear that program would be eliminated.
But Paul McCarrier, president of Legalize Maine, one of the groups that supported passage of the marijuana referendum, says that is not the intent.
“We’ve offered this initiative, gathered signatures and as we were speaking with voters, who made it clear that legalization should not be used to dismantle the current medical marijuana program. This is one of the most controversial issues that I personally encountered,” he says.
And there was testimony from people like Elaine Graham, who are concerned about maintaining local control. Cities and towns can prohibit marijuana retail stores or smoking lounges under current