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Maine Lawmakers Hear from the Public on Move to Delay Pot Sales

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine Lawmakers have begun review of a bill that would delay the retail purchase and sale of recreational marijuana that voters approved during a referendum last year.

The Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee is holding a public hearing on the proposal today.

Supporters of the bill included several lawmakers, among thyem Republican Rep. William Tuell of East Machias. Tuell said the moratorium would ensure that the state has the time to develop the regulatory framework for legal marijuana.

"We need to do it right," Tuell said. "We need to do it responsibly. We need to do it safely and we certainly need to do it with the public's interest in mind."

Opponents of the bill argue that it will further delay the will voters, while encouraging a vibrant black market for marijuana to thrive during a time when the retail sale is illegal and possession and use is legal for adults.

The possession and use of marijuana for Mainers age 21 and older will become legal Jan. 30. The proposal before the Legislature would not affect possession and use, only retail sale.