Maine Wants Advice on How to Regulate Cannabis

Photo of a harbour at sunset with anchored fishing boats. Calm water and cloudy sky. Bar Harbor, Maine, Usa

Maine continues to take slow steps toward legalizing cannabis after voters in November passed an adult-use legalization. On Monday, members of the state’s Marijuana Legalization Implementation Committee met with Colorado’s former marijuana czar to discuss how to craft Maine’s cannabis policies.

A key player in setting up Colorado’s billion-dollar cannabis industry, Andrew Freedman served as the state’s marijuana czar following voters’ approval adult-consumption in 2012. According to reports from local NBC affiliate WCSH6, he spent about an hour with the Maine committee, going over data he gathered since adult-consumption cannabis became legal in Colorado.

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Key findings included indications that legalization has not increased cannabis consumption by youth and adults, according to the local news report.

“Our expectations were, we worried we were going to see massive increases,” he said, according to WCSH6. “We’ve seen nothing of statistical significance yet.”

Freedman did tell the legalization committee that some of the biggest challenges in Colorado have been banking, identifying and combating dangerous pesticides, and setting up personal homegrow rules. Visits to hospital emergency rooms also increased, mainly due to people consuming too many edibles.

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The state committee hopes to wrap up its work by the end of July, then have rules ready for a public hearing by September.

To that end, Maine’s financial and agricultural departments are asking for the public’s thoughts on how to regulate the state’s retail cannabis marketplace, as well as on the public health, budgetary, and enforcement aspects of the new market.

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Comments are due July 31.

Currently, possession of up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis is legal for all adults 21 and over in Maine, although there’s not yet a legal place to buy cannabis products. On the medical side, eight dispensaries and 3,000 caregivers serve roughly 37,000 patients.