Maine Lawmakers Push to Rewrite 2016 Voter-Approved Marijuana Law

Maine Lawmakers Push to Rewrite 2016 Voter-Approved Marijuana Law

Maine Governor Paul LePage (R).

AUGUSTA, ME State lawmakers in Maine are moving forward with a legislative proposal to significantly amend various provisions of the states 2016 voter-approved cannabis law: The Marijuana Legalization Act.

Members of the Marijuana Legalization Implementation Committee havevoted16 to 1 in favor of overhauling the law, which has yet to be fully implemented. Lawmakers had initially voted last year to delay the enactment of provisions regulating the retail production and sale of cannabis.

Then in November, Republican Gov. Paul LePagevetoedlegislation that sought to license and regulate marijuana businesses and sales, stating: Until I clearly understand how the federal government intends to treat states that seek to legalize marijuana, I cannot in good conscience support any scheme in state law to implement expansion of legal marijuana in Maine. Lawmakers voted in favor of sustaining LePages veto.

Now lawmakers are pushing a plan toamend and repealnumerous provisions of the law, including provisions that have already taken effect. Specifically, language in the new proposal would limit the quantity of mature marijuana plants that an adult may legally grow in a private residence from six to three. Legislators are advocating for this change despite the fact that no regulated, commercial market yet exists for cannabis leaving adults reliant exclusively upon home cultivation operations. Further, no data has been presented indicating that the states existing plant quotas are either being abused or that home-cultivated marijuana is being diverted into the criminal market. NORMLopposesthis proposed amendment.

A majority of Maine voters decided in favor of legalizing and regulating the use of marijuana by adults, NORMLs Political Director Justin Strekal said. It is time for lawmakers to implement the will of the people, not undermine it.

Other language in the new proposal would repeal language permitting for the operation of state-licensed social use facilities, and would eliminate provisions redirecting portions of marijuana-related tax revenue to localities that explicitly permit such operations. Separate language in the bill seeks to impose a new 21.5 percent excise tax on wholesale marijuana transactions. The bill also makes it easier for communities that wish to ban adult use operations to do so.

If you reside in Maine, you can use NORMLs Take Action Center to contact your lawmakershere.

A finalized version of the bill is anticipated to go ...

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