More than 20 wildfires break out across Maine – Portland Press Herald

April 24th, 2018 by admin No comments »

More than 20 wildfires broke out across Maine on Monday, with some threatening homes and others causing actual damage to buildings.

Regional Forest Ranger Jeff Currier, who is based in Old Town, said the Maine Forest Service responded to fires in Sanford, Lewiston, Harmony, Lincolnville, Blue Hill, Old Town, Machiasport, Chesterville, Bowdoinham, Dexter, Sedgwick, Ellsworth, Leeds, Lamoine, Frankfort and Fairfield, among other locations.

Reports of brush fires started coming in Saturday, continued Sunday, and seemed to intensify Monday as strong winds caused fires to spread.

Currier said most of the fires were accidental, including a fire Saturday that began when a farm worker in Monmouth, who was trying to “smoke out a woodchuck in its hole,” started a brush fire that burned nearly 2 acres of grass and brush at an apple orchard.

A wind-whipped grass fire outside a planned indoor marijuana grow operation on Middle Road in Skowhegan ignited a pile of old tires Monday, sending black smoke high into the sky. The fire burned just under 2 acres of grass.

Though the fire danger levels in coastal areas and about 40 miles inland were listed as moderate on the Maine Forest Service’s website Monday, Currier said history has proved that April and May tend to be the months when most wildfires occur.

“We don’t consider what happened today to be abnormal,” said Currier, who urged people to get a burn permit from their town or the state. Once trees and foliage start to green up in June, the number of wildfires should decrease.

As

Article source: https://www.pressherald.com/2018/04/23/more-than-20-wildfires-break-out-across-maine/

Our View: Maine lawmakers are right to go slow on marijuana …

April 24th, 2018 by admin No comments »

Some marijuana legalization advocates are making an unusual critique of the Maine Legislature: that it’s doing too much.

The advocates say lawmakers went too far in their crafting of a comprehensive package of regulations when they cut the number of pot plants that Maine residents can grow in their homes from six to three. The change was part of the bill enacted last week by the House and Senate and sent to Gov. LePage with enough support to override a promised veto.

Maine's voter-approved marijuana referendum would have allowed residents to grow up to six plants at home. The Legislature has reduced that cap to three, which is a reasonably cautious first step.

The criticism is understandable, but unfair. Nearly 18 months since voters approved taxing and regulating marijuana like alcohol, there hasn’t been a single legal sale or a dollar of tax money collected by the state. This bipartisan effort to draft and pass a brand-new regulatory scheme from scratch would entail heavy lifting in the best of times, but it is an even more impressive achievement in the middle of the historic dysfunction that has seized Augusta.

In this environment, a small step in the right direction is something worth celebrating – not a target for attack. Lawmakers should stand by their votes and put this law on the books.

2016 REFERENDUM

In 2016, Mainers were asked to vote on a marijuana legalization law that was written by advocates and gave built-in advantages to people who were already engaged in

Article source: https://www.pressherald.com/2018/04/24/our-view-maine-lawmakers-are-right-to-go-slow-on-marijuana-regulation/

Our View: Maine lawmakers are right to go slow on marijuana regulation

April 24th, 2018 by admin No comments »

Some marijuana legalization advocates are making an unusual critique of the Maine Legislature: that it’s doing too much.

The advocates say lawmakers went too far in their crafting of a comprehensive package of regulations when they cut the number of pot plants that Maine residents can grow in their homes from six to three. The change was part of the bill enacted last week by the House and Senate and sent to Gov. LePage with enough support to override a promised veto.

Maine's voter-approved marijuana referendum would have allowed residents to grow up to six plants at home. The Legislature has reduced that cap to three, which is a reasonably cautious first step.

The criticism is understandable, but unfair. Nearly 18 months since voters approved taxing and regulating marijuana like alcohol, there hasn’t been a single legal sale or a dollar of tax money collected by the state. This bipartisan effort to draft and pass a brand-new regulatory scheme from scratch would entail heavy lifting in the best of times, but it is an even more impressive achievement in the middle of the historic dysfunction that has seized Augusta.

In this environment, a small step in the right direction is something worth celebrating – not a target for attack. Lawmakers should stand by their votes and put this law on the books.

2016 REFERENDUM

In 2016, Mainers were asked to vote on a marijuana legalization law that was written by advocates and gave built-in advantages to people who were already engaged in

Article source: https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/04/24/our-view-maine-lawmakers-are-right-to-go-slow-on-marijuana-regulation/

Marijuana cultivation hopefuls cited for fire in Skowhegan

April 24th, 2018 by admin No comments »

SKOWHEGAN — A wind-whipped grass fire outside a planned indoor marijuana grow operation on Middle Road ignited a pile of old tires Monday, sending black smoke high into the sky and raising questions about whether such a facility would be allowed in town.

Fire crews from Skowhegan, Norridgewock and Fairfield, along with Maine forest rangers, responded to the fire, reported just after 11 a.m. at the former Fox Den dance hall, which straddles the Skowhegan/Fairfield town line. Crews from Canaan and Clinton also were dispatched to cover local fire stations.

A stubborn tire fire burns Monday on Middle Road in Skowhegan, just 1.5 miles from the Sappi North America paper mill pictured in the background.


photo-store

The fire burned just under 2 acres of grass, about 1.5 miles south west of the Sappi North America paper mill.

Peter Picardi, 37, of Skowhegan, said he is interested in starting a grow operation inside the former dance hall, first as a medical marijuana facility and hopefully for recreational cannabis later once state rules for selling pot are adopted.

“It’s not going to be open to the public,” Picardi said from the yard, still smoky from the fire Monday morning. “It’s just going to be a wholesale production facility. We’re going to just grow the cannabis, hopefully, to sell to patients and ultimately, hopefully, if the town allows it, for the recreational program. But as of now, we’re just going to be growing medicinally.”

But according Article source: https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/04/23/marijuana-cultivation-hopefuls-cited-for-fire-in-skowhegan/

Reduced home-grow limit offensive, pot advocates say – Portland …

April 23rd, 2018 by admin No comments »

The proposed rollback of home grow limits in Maine has some marijuana advocates crying foul.

Limiting the number of flowering plants grown at home for recreational use at three is half what Maine voters approved in November 2016, but it puts Maine squarely in the middle of the pack among those states that have legalized adult-use cannabis.

“We don’t want Maine to be out in front of other states on marijuana,” said Sen. Roger Katz, R-Augusta, the Senate chairman of the marijuana committee that overhauled the voter-approved law. “Colorado had problems with home grow and cut theirs, so we did, too.”

Like Maine, Colorado, Alaska and Washington, D.C., limit home growers to three mature plants. California and Massachusetts allow up to six, and Oregon caps it at four. Vermont will allow just two when it goes legal in July. Washington state forbids home grow altogether.

Nevada home-grow rules vary depending on where one lives. A home grower can have up to six plants at home for personal recreational use, but only if the person lives at least 25 miles away from one of its state-licensed retail marijuana shops.

If the Maine bill becomes law, it will roll back the only part of the Marijuana Legalization Act that went into effect after the vote. Lawmakers delayed the issuance of retail licenses, but residents have been able to grow up to six plants since Jan. 1, 2017.

If lawmakers override the promised gubernatorial veto, the law would give residents six months from implementation to shrink their grow

Article source: https://www.pressherald.com/2018/04/23/home-grow-pot-limit-called-a-slap-in-the-face-to-joe-six-plant/

Reduced home-grow limit offensive, pot advocates say

April 23rd, 2018 by admin No comments »

The proposed rollback of home grow limits in Maine has some marijuana advocates crying foul.

Limiting the number of flowering plants grown at home for recreational use at three is half what Maine voters approved in November 2016, but it puts Maine squarely in the middle of the pack among those states that have legalized adult-use cannabis.

“We don’t want Maine to be out in front of other states on marijuana,” said Sen. Roger Katz, R-Augusta, the Senate chairman of the marijuana committee that overhauled the voter-approved law. “Colorado had problems with home grow and cut theirs, so we did, too.”

Like Maine, Colorado, Alaska and Washington, D.C., limit home growers to three mature plants. California and Massachusetts allow up to six, and Oregon caps it at four. Vermont will allow just two when it goes legal in July. Washington state forbids home grow altogether.

Nevada home-grow rules vary depending on where one lives. A home grower can have up to six plants at home for personal recreational use, but only if the person lives at least 25 miles away from one of its state-licensed retail marijuana shops.

If the Maine bill becomes law, it will roll back the only part of the Marijuana Legalization Act that went into effect after the vote. Lawmakers delayed the issuance of retail licenses, but residents have been able to grow up to six plants since Jan. 1, 2017.

If lawmakers override the promised gubernatorial veto, the law would give residents six months from implementation to shrink their grow

Article source: https://www.pressherald.com/2018/04/23/home-grow-pot-limit-called-a-slap-in-the-face-to-joe-six-plant/

Maine medical marijuana reform bill advances

April 23rd, 2018 by admin No comments »

A bill to reform the state’s medical marijuana program appeared headed to Gov. Paul LePage on Wednesday.

The second major piece of cannabis legislation to pass both houses of the Legislature in as many days would expand the number of people who can qualify for a medical marijuana card, increase the number of state-licensed dispensaries and allow registered caregivers to see more patients, hire more workers and run storefront operations without the threat of legal reprisal. LePage has 10 days to act on the bill once it lands on his desk, although its supporters expect him to veto it.

The status of the bill and whether it needs additional enactment votes was unclear early Thursday, as lawmakers worked late into the night debating whether to extend the session. Enactment votes are procedural actions taken before a bill can advance to the governor.

The Senate voted 25-10 in favor of the bill on Wednesday. The proposal was approved by the House with ease on Friday, without debate or even a roll call.

“Years back, when I first encountered the idea of medical marijuana, I thought it was a joke … just some clever excuse used to try to get to adult-use marijuana, but I was wrong,” said Sen. Eric Brakey, R-Auburn, co-chair of the legislative committee that spent months crafting the bill. “My fiancée is a medical cannabis patient. … She suffered with intractable pain for much of her life. I have personally seen how access to this medicine has helped her.”

SHARP CRITICISM FROM GOVERNOR

This

Article source: https://www.pressherald.com/2018/04/18/lawmakers-pass-medical-marijuana-reforms/

Suspects fire shots when marijuana caregiver confronts them trying to break in

April 23rd, 2018 by admin No comments »

GREENE — Shots were fired Wednesday morning on Park Lane when a homeowner, a licensed medical marijuana caregiver, confronted three men trying to break into his house.

Police said the three suspects fired blindly at the homeowner as they fled and that one of them may have shot himself in the foot.

No one was hurt in the 10 a.m. incident on the dead-end street off College Road near the Lewiston-Greene town line.

Investigators from the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office described it as an attempted home invasion. They said the attack followed an attempted break-in at the same home Tuesday night. Investigators said there was an attempted break-in there in October 2016. In that incident, three teens fled after being shot at by the homeowner. Police said the suspects had been trying to steal marijuana. The resident is a licensed marijuana caregiver.

Local, county and federal agents were investigating Wednesday’s incident.

Police said the drama began when the homeowner called to report seeing three men, through surveillance equipment, trying to break into his home.

The men were described as white, bearded and wearing dark clothes.

When the homeowner confronted them, the scene turned violent.

“The suspects shot at the caller as they were running away,” Chief Deputy William Gagne wrote in a news release. “One of the males fired a warning shot toward the ground and may have shot himself in the foot. Several shots were reportedly fired blindly at the caller as the males were running away from him.”

Police said the suspects fled in a gray Pontiac

Article source: https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/04/18/shots-fired-at-greene-when-homeowner-confronts-three-men-trying-to-break-in/

Suspects fire shots when marijuana caregiver confronts them trying to break in

April 23rd, 2018 by admin No comments »

GREENE — Shots were fired Wednesday morning on Park Lane when a homeowner, a licensed medical marijuana caregiver, confronted three men trying to break into his house.

Police said the three suspects fired blindly at the homeowner as they fled and that one of them may have shot himself in the foot.

No one was hurt in the 10 a.m. incident on the dead-end street off College Road near the Lewiston-Greene town line.

Investigators from the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office described it as an attempted home invasion. They said the attack followed an attempted break-in at the same home Tuesday night. Investigators said there was an attempted break-in there in October 2016. In that incident, three teens fled after being shot at by the homeowner. Police said the suspects had been trying to steal marijuana. The resident is a licensed marijuana caregiver.

Local, county and federal agents were investigating Wednesday’s incident.

Police said the drama began when the homeowner called to report seeing three men, through surveillance equipment, trying to break into his home.

The men were described as white, bearded and wearing dark clothes.

When the homeowner confronted them, the scene turned violent.

“The suspects shot at the caller as they were running away,” Chief Deputy William Gagne wrote in a news release. “One of the males fired a warning shot toward the ground and may have shot himself in the foot. Several shots were reportedly fired blindly at the caller as the males were running away from him.”

Police said the suspects fled in a gray Pontiac

Article source: https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/04/18/shots-fired-at-greene-when-homeowner-confronts-three-men-trying-to-break-in/

Recreational vs. medical: Taxes divide Maine pot advocates …

April 22nd, 2018 by admin No comments »

Fear of tax evasion is one reason Gov. Paul LePage wants to veto the adult-use cannabis bill.

The two-term Republican thinks Mainers who aren’t really sick will flock to the medical market because adult-use cannabis would be taxed at a higher rate — an effective tax rate of about 20 percent compared to medical’s 5.5-percent sales tax. LePage has worried that setting up two marijuana programs could lead to tax evasion and black market diversion since voters first legalized recreational marijuana in 2016. He cited it in his veto letter last year, when he scuttled the Legislature’s first adult-use market bill.

“The drafters of this bill chose to ignore the significant effects that this new program – one with different levels of regulatory oversight and a different tax structure – will have on the existing medical marijuana program, its patients and the public health and safety of the Maine people,” he wrote.

He warned lawmakers about “exploitation of loopholes in medical marijuana regulations to broaden the sales base for medical marijuana, which has a much lower tax rate,” and urged them to take steps to roll the two programs into one uniform set of regulations and tax rates.

Last week, he told a local television station that he would veto the adult-use bill because it had not abolished the medical marijuana program. In a rhetorical aside, LePage asked why anybody would be willing to pay a higher tax on recreational marijuana when they could buy medical.

But bill supporters argue that only sick people who

Article source: http://www.sentinelsource.com/news/economy/recreational-vs-medical-taxes-divide-maine-pot-advocates-lepage/article_1ca707d0-ef4f-55b8-9a1a-c4410f4279cd.html