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Maine Releases New Draft Rules For Recreational Marijuana Market

Robert F. Bukaty
Maine Public
In this Dec. 13, 2017, file photo, James MacWilliams prunes a marijuana plant growing indoors in Portland, Maine.

The state has released new draft rules for the recreational marijuana program Maine voters approved two years ago. The 74-page document contains proposed rules for how the new market will be monitored, regulated and launched by the Office of Marijuana Policy. The document also outlines the potential application process, fees, and requirements, which Paul McCarrier, of Legalize Maine, says will help those interested in developing marijuana-focused businesses.

"So now that we know what the licensing fees are going to be, you can fit that into a business model," he says.

McCarrier praised the work of the new office following two years of incremental progress. "It did, basically, two years worth of work in under 90 days. And I think that speaks to their work ethic and their desire to actually get this off the ground and respect the will of the voters."

David Boyer, of the Marijuana Policy Project, is also cheering the release of the draft rules. 

"At first glance, it looks good," he says. "It's definitely progress, and I think it was really smart for the department to release them, as they were working on them, so that people in the industry, activists, can take a look and give feedback on what they see on their end and how these rules translate into, you know, real life."

The rules would limit marijuana business licenses until mid-2021. Those eligible would have to have lived in the state for four years and filed income taxes with the state for that time.  Also, the rules require applicants to win approval from cities and towns as well as the state. Any community without approved rules for marijuana businesses would be considered off limits.

McCarrier, of Legalize Maine, says there are still some details regarding fees and licensing that will need clarification. The proposed regulations will also be subjected to a public hearing and the legislative approval process before being finalized.  

The new rules were posted to the state's website following a Freedom of Access request made by the Portland Press Herald.

Originally published April 23, 2019 at 12:56 p.m. ET.