Maine lawmakers consider end to cultivation cap on pot

May 13th, 2017 by admin Leave a reply »

AUGUSTA — State lawmakers are considering whether to eliminate a cap on the amount of marijuana that can be grown for recreational sale in Maine.

Last fall, voters narrowly approved the Marijuana Legalization Act, a ballot initiative that limited the amount of marijuana that could be grown for retail sale in Maine to 800,000 square feet of growing space, or canopy, which is equivalent to about 18.4 acres. The initiative set other limits, too, including a 30,000-square-foot cap for the largest growers and a license set-aside for small growers.


Although the act is now law, it is up to the Legislature to set the rules for Maine’s new recreational market. It could opt to eliminate a cultivation cap.

Much of the cap debate centers on the best way to starve the black market, both in Maine and in nearby states where recreational marijuana is not legal. People on both sides of the cap debate worry that the threat of diversion, or sale of legally grown marijuana into the black market, could prompt a crackdown in Maine by federal authorities. Marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

Supporters say a statewide cultivation cap will prevent growers from raising too much marijuana. Without a cap, cultivators might overestimate demand, grow too much and end up selling their overage into the black market. “Too many fish in the sea will be a legal glut, and will force sale into the black market,” said John Dole,

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