Bangor officials prepare for future of marijuana sales in city

April 18th, 2018 by admin No comments »

BANGOR, Maine (WABI) – The city of Bangor continues to prepare for the day that retail marijuana sales are legal in Maine.

Tuesday the Planning Board voted to amend some restrictions that were previously in place about how many retail shops could be located in direct proximity to one and other.
“A similar thing has been done with adult entertainment,” said Planning Officer David Gould. “They try to spread them out so that you don’t get some concentrated district of a similar use. That’s been done in other places. That was the initial thought with marijuana retailers and then they said, no we’re not going to do that, so they potentially could be next door to each other.”

The matter now moves on the city council for final approval.

Article source: http://www.wabi.tv/content/news/Bangor-officials-prepare-for-future-of-marijuana-sales-in-city-480072083.html

Maine sends retail marijuana bill to governor despite veto threat

April 17th, 2018 by admin No comments »

Maine lawmakers sent a bill regulating recreational marijuana sales to Republican Gov. Paul LePage on Tuesday, a day after his office said he’d reject it.

The Maine state Senate gave their final approval Tuesday to a compromise bill establishing ground rules for the retail cannabis industry approved by voters in 2016, giving Mr. LePage either 10 days to sign it, veto or let it take effect without his signature.

Mr. LePage plans to veto the legislation, his press secretary said earlier this week, signaling the second time in six months the governor will have rejected a regulatory bill implementing retail sales in accordance with the voter-approved ballot referendum.

The bill passed last week in both the state House and Senate by veto-proof margins, however, giving it enough support at the moment to sustain Mr. LePage’s expected rejection.

“We worked very hard to create a bill that addressed the governor’s concerns, as well as those of our colleagues,” state Rep. Teresa Pierce, Falmouth Democrat, told The Portland Press Herald in response to Mr. LePage’s veto threat. “Our bill has received strong support in both houses. I hope the governor will reconsider, but if he vetoes it, I’d hope that we can still count on their votes.”

Mainers narrowly voted in November 2016 to legalize recreational marijuana and establish a system for licensing, taxing and tracking retail cannabis, but a lack of rules regulating weed sales have prevented commercial dispensaries from legally opening their doors to non-medical customers.

State lawmakers passed a bill last year laying

Article source: https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/apr/17/maine-sends-retail-marijuana-bill-governor-despite/

LePage says he will veto retail pot bill – Lewiston Sun Journal

April 17th, 2018 by admin No comments »

Gov. Paul LePage plans to veto the recreational marijuana bill once it reaches his desk because it would not combine Maine’s medical and adult-use marijuana programs.

The two-term Republican has problems with having two regulatory systems and tax structures for different uses of the same plant, according to his press secretary, Julie Rabinowitz.

If the pending adult-use bill becomes law, Maine would tax recreational marijuana at an effective rate of 20 percent while taxing medical marijuana at a much lower rate of 5.5 percent, or 8 percent for medical edibles. Each program would have its own set of rules.

LePage raised this concern when he vetoed the Legislature’s first attempt to launch Maine’s recreational market in November 2017. In his veto letter, LePage said having a medical program with weaker regulation and a lower tax rate would undermine the adult-use regulations and that these two programs must be considered together. He characterized the medical marijuana program as having failings and loopholes that caregivers are exploiting.

The state lawmakers who crafted the latest adult-use marijuana bill believed they were addressing LePage’s concerns when they decided to move the medical marijuana program from the state Department of Health and Human Services over to the state Department of Administration and Financial Services, which would also be managing the recreational program.

In bill workshops, lawmakers said putting the two programs under the same regulatory umbrella would allow Maine to combine certain parts of the programs, such as the enforcement of packaging and labeling, while keeping the oversight of

Article source: http://www.sunjournal.com/paul-lepage-said-he-intends-to-veto-retail-pot-bill/

Organizer of Maine smoke-in demands freedom from ‘Reefer Madness’

April 17th, 2018 by admin No comments »

SKOWHEGAN — As he fights off the ravages of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, marijuana advocate Donny Christen on Monday told an assembly of supporters outside the Somerset County Courthouse to keep up the fight for free access to pot and to work to change the laws in Augusta.

“The reason we’re here is the fact the plant’s been legalized, they say, when in fact it hasn’t,” Christen, 64, told the group of more than 30 people, bundled up against a raw Patriot’s Day drizzle. “It’s all right for people to have a bag of pot – a little one – but for the people who want to grow it and sell it and help the sick, it’s not over, because they’re going to try to make it three plants or six plants and people are still going to go to jail over this.”

Glenn Lewis smokes a joint and carries a pro-marijuana flag during the annual Patriots Day smoke-in on the steps of the Somerset County Courthouse in Skowhegan on Monday. Staff photo by David Leaming

New legislation that has passed the Maine House and Senate will soon be headed for the governor’s desk. Christen said he does not support the bill because it simply heaps regulations on regulations. He said he and his supporters want the freedom to grow and use as much marijuana as they want.

Christen, of Starks, said the reason for the protest was to “free the people” from the new

Article source: https://www.pressherald.com/2018/04/16/organizer-of-smoke-in-demands-freedom-from-reefer-madness/

Longtime cannabis advocate continues Patriot’s Day smoke-in tradition in Skowhegan

April 17th, 2018 by admin No comments »

SKOWHEGAN, Maine (WABI) – For more than 25 years, Donny Christen has spent Patriot’s Day hosting a smoke-in on the steps of the Somerset County Courthouse in Skowhegan.

In what may be the last year Christen can continue his tradition in person, his mission to fight for the freedom of marijuana access remains the same as it did when he started in 1991.

“I’m looking at maybe my last one here. So it’s up to you guys out there to make things happen and keep things going,” said Christen.

“His health isn’t that great. He has COPD,” said Kent Walsh, a medical marijuana patient.

28 years ago, Donny Christen held his first protest in Skowhegan to advocate for the end of marijuana prohibition.

Despite the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease slowing him down physically, Christen is just as determined as ever to fight the government from banning medical or recreational cannabis.

“It’s like the blind leading the blind. And they won’t listen to the people who know what the hell’s going on,” said Christen.

Members of Christen’s cannabis activist group, Maine Vocals, joined him at the corner of High and Court Streets and share his opposition to state legislation regulating the adult-use marijuana market

“What do I think? Do you really want to know? My views on what’s going on right now – there’s more money floating around there in lobbyists than I’ve ever seen at any State House,” said Dennis Hammac, a medical marijuana caregiver from Milo.

“They’ve

Article source: http://www.wabi.tv/content/news/Longtime-cannabis-advocate-continues-Patriots-Day-smoke-in-tradition-in-Skowhegan-479920603.html

Maine Gov. Paul LePage plans to veto marijuana bill

April 16th, 2018 by admin No comments »

Maine Gov. Paul LePage plans to veto a bill that would allow recreational marijuana use in the state, according to a report.

The Republican governor has complained the bill would not combine Maine’s medical and adult-use marijuana programs, according to a report in the Portland Press-Herald. Medical marijuana is already legal in Maine, and the bill would tax recreational marijuana use by 20 percent.

The governor’s office did not return a request for comment. LePage already vetoed a recreational marijuana bill last November.

Only eight states and the District of Columbia legalize recreational marijuana, according to Governing magazine. Thirty states and Washington, D.C., have laws broadly legalizing marijuana, the vast majority approve its use for medical purposes.

Article source: https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/policy/healthcare/maine-gov-paul-lepage-plans-to-veto-marijuana-bill

Maine House passes new compromise on legal marijuana sales

April 16th, 2018 by admin No comments »

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine lawmakers cast a pivotal vote Tuesday in favor of allowing retail marijuana sales, signaling strong support for enacting a law change approved by voters that has been held up by politics.

The Maine House of Representatives approved a new compromise with a veto-proof majority needed to keep Republican Gov. Paul LePage from killing the bill. Lawmakers have been trying to hammer out regulations for legalized marijuana since voters chose to go legal in 2016.

“This bill sends a message that the long wait for the implementation of the legalization of marijuana has been long enough,” independent Rep. Kent Ackley of Monmouth said. “My hope is that every member in this body can go home at the end of this session with the ability to tell the voters in each of our districts that we finished the job they started in November of 2016.”

The bill passed the House on Tuesday despite an uphill battle. Republican leaders who oppose legalization, in part because marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, said they’re still against it.

Some pro-marijuana activists also didn’t like that it would cut the number of plants

Article source: https://www.thecannabist.co/2018/04/10/maine-marijuana-legalization-regulations-house/103285/

Local legislators split on retail marijuana sales – By Stephen Betts … – Courier

April 16th, 2018 by admin No comments »

Local legislators were split on a bill that gained overwhelming approval this week to legalize retail marijuana sales beginning in the spring of 2019.

The Maine House voted 112-34 on Tuesday, April 10, for the bill, LD 1719. On Wednesday, the state Senate followed suit and approved the legislation 24-10.

Those margins would be enough to override a veto by Gov. Paul LePage if he takes that action.

In the House, Democratic Rep. John Spear of South Thomaston; Republican Rep. Abden Simmons of Waldoboro; and Democratic Rep. Walter Kumiega III of Deer Isle voted for the legislation.

Democratic Rep. Pinny Beebe-Center; independent Rep. Owen Casas of Rockport; and Republican Rep. Paula Sutton of Warren voted against the measure.

Casas stated on Facebook that he voted against the legislation because it does not treat municipalities fairly. The bill would send  sales and excise tax proceeds to the state. Casas also voiced opposition to the bill because it reduces the number of plants a person can grow for their own use at home from six to three.

In the Senate, Republican Sens. Dana Dow of Waldoboro and Michael Thibodeau of Winterport voted for the bill.

Democratic Sen. David Miramant of Camden voted against the legislation.

“I voted against this bill because it continued to erode the will of the voters around recreational marijuana,” Miramant said.” It reduced the number of plants, it took away revenue-sharing from the towns where it is sold, with all

Article source: https://knox.villagesoup.com/p/local-legislators-split-on-retail-marijuana-sales/1739231

Maine House passes bill that would launch recreational marijuana market

April 15th, 2018 by admin No comments »

The latest bid to launch Maine’s adult-use marijuana market cleared its toughest political hurdle Tuesday with a veto-proof margin that bodes well for the compromise bill.

If the bill continues on its current path, Mainers can expect to see the first recreational business licenses issued in the spring of 2019. It allows recreational retailers to buy marijuana from former medical growers, a provision that will help them stock their shelves and potentially get Maine’s recreational market up and running very quickly.

But Mainers wouldn’t be able to buy marijuana and consume it in a social club, because that option was stripped out of the bill to make it more politically palatable. They also would have to reduce the size of their home grow from six to three plants, which lawmakers hope will reduce diversion into the black market. Towns will get to decide if they will allow recreational marijuana businesses in their towns, but they won’t get a piece of the tax spoils, which all would go to the state.

“We worked hard to compromise and find common ground,” said Rep. Teresa Pierce, D-Falmouth, House chairwoman of the marijuana committee that crafted the bill. “Our town officials, our local businesses, our parents and families and communities that each of us represent are all asking us to put a reasonable, highly structured regulatory system in place. … They recognize the status quo just isn’t what we should be doing.”

Lawmakers have been trying to hammer out an overhaul of the Marijuana Legalization

Article source: http://www.sunjournal.com/maine-house-passes-bill-that-would-launch-recreational-marijuana-market/

Local legislators split on retail marijuana sales – Courier

April 15th, 2018 by admin No comments »

Local legislators were split on a bill that gained overwhelming approval this week to legalize retail marijuana sales beginning in the spring of 2019.

The Maine House voted 112-34 on Tuesday, April 10, for the bill, LD 1719. On Wednesday, the state Senate followed suit and approved the legislation 24-10.

Those margins would be enough to override a veto by Gov. Paul LePage if he takes that action.

In the House, Democratic Rep. John Spear of South Thomaston; Republican Rep. Abden Simmons of Waldoboro; and Democratic Rep. Walter Kumiega III of Deer Isle voted for the legislation.

Democratic Rep. Pinny Beebe-Center; independent Rep. Owen Casas of Rockport; and Republican Rep. Paula Sutton of Warren voted against the measure.

Casas stated on Facebook that he voted against the legislation because it does not treat municipalities fairly. The bill would send  sales and excise tax proceeds to the state. Casas also voiced opposition to the bill because it reduces the number of plants a person can grow for their own use at home from six to three.

In the Senate, Republican Sens. Dana Dow of Waldoboro and Michael Thibodeau of Winterport voted for the bill.

Democratic Sen. David Miramant of Camden voted against the legislation.

“I voted against this bill because it continued to erode the will of the voters around recreational marijuana,” Miramant said.” It reduced the number of plants, it took away revenue-sharing from the towns where it is sold, with all

Article source: https://knox.villagesoup.com/p/local-legislators-split-on-retail-marijuana-sales/1739231