Maine lawmakers won’t extend moratorium on pot sales, but it’s still not for sale

February 13th, 2018 by admin Leave a reply »

AUGUSTA — A bill to delay implementation of the Marijuana Legalization Act until the end of the legislative session died Thursday.

The bill failed to win even a simple majority in the House, losing 65-81, prompting the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Roger Katz, R-Augusta, to declare it dead despite the fact that the Senate didn’t actually vote on it. As a result, the moratorium adopted by the Legislature last year to delay commercial aspects of the voter-approved referendum is now lapsed. But lawmakers disagree about what that might actually mean.

Even Katz, the Senate president of the committee tasked with overhauling the voter initiative, said the failure to extend the moratorium will have no practical impact on the public because the state doesn’t have a licensing system in place. The act requires anyone who wants to cultivate, sell or make marijuana products for commercial sale to obtain a state license, and that can’t happen until the state creates a licensing system, he said.

“While a moratorium extension would have been helpful, this is just a minor blip,” Katz said. “The committee will be right back to work tomorrow morning as we move toward a revised overall bill. We remain optimistic.”

Katz wanted to extend the moratorium until April 18, the final day of the current legislative session, to give his committee time to create a full-blown regulatory structure and to send a message to municipalities around the state that had wanted the legal protection of a state moratorium. Some towns have passed temporary or permanent

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