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Legislative Update Jan 30, 2017

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The Governor has signed LD 88, HP 66,128th Legislature

An Act To Delay the Implementation of Certain Portions of the Marijuana Legalization Act

Maine Gov. Paul LePage used an executive order to move oversight of licensing and enforcement relating to legal marijuana to the Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations. The governor says the alcoholic beverages bureau has expertise in managing retail sales, licensing and enforcement, and thus should have oversight.

In short and within set limitations, possessing and growing marijuana for recreational purposes is now legal, while buying or selling it is not legal yet. The state has until next year to develop rules for regulating new retail stores. Medical marijuana policy hasn’t changed.

The Joint Select Committee on Marijuana Legalization Implementation has been established. In addition to considering marijuana-related bills, the committee has been given the authority to submit its own legislation.

Republican Senate President Mike Thibodeau of Winterport said the committee has a busy session ahead of it. “There is an enormous amount of work ahead for this committee because of the myriad issues surrounding legalization that concern public safety, retail sales of the drug and state government oversight, to name a few,”

The members of the Joint Select Committee on Marijuana Legalization Implementation:

Sen. Roger Katz, R-Augusta, co-chairman

Sen. Kimberley Rosen, R-Bucksport

Sen. Joyce Maker, R-Calais

Sen. Mark Dion, D-Portland

Sen. Susan Deschambault, D-Biddeford

Rep. Teresa Pierce, D-Falmouth, co-chair

Rep. Kimberly Monaghan, D-Cape Elizabeth

Rep. Scott Hamann, D-South Portland

Rep. Craig Hickman, D-Winthrop

Rep. Erik Jorgensen, D-Portland

Rep. Lydia Blume, D-York

Rep. Donald Marean, R-Hollis

Rep. Bruce Bickford, R-Auburn

Rep. Lance Harvell, R-Farmington

Rep. Patrick Corey, R-Windham

Rep. Michael Perkins, R-Oakland

Rep. Kent Ackley, I-Monmouth

And on the national level, Congress must decide before April 28 whether to reapprove the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment and if it does not, the Department of Justice would be able to use federal funds to prosecute individuals in the state-legal medical marijuana industry.