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April 11, 2018, Maine
Since the residents of Maine voted for marijuana legalization in 2016, the lawmakers have been trying to iron out the regulations for commercial marijuana operations in the state and they have failed to pass any of them thus far. But this Tuesday, Maine’s House of Representatives passed a new compromise in connection to the retail sales of cannabis.
It’s worth noting that even after the voters have given their verdict on the status of marijuana, politicians are still fighting each other over the issue. This is another reason why legislative process regarding cannabis sales is taking that much time in Maine.
The new compromise has been passed by the house after a hard fought battle notwithstanding the fact that it had already been passed by the legislative committee earlier. Particularly the Republican clout has strongly opposed the new compromise. Local lawmakers of GOP have taken the line of their federal counterparts. In 2016, they also opposed the legalization of marijuana.
It’s inconceivable for many political pundits as why Maine’s Republican legislators are rallying against the majority of the state voters. Instead of helping in speeding up the process of cannabis commercialization, they try to sabotage it at every occasion.
Some Republican lawmakers are of the belief that state laws must be in line with the Federation. It is important to note that Federal laws classify cannabis as Class I controlled substance along with heroin and other dangerous addictive substances.
Status of Marijuana in Maine
Adult over 21 are already allowed to grow up to six marijuana plant domestically for personal use. However, commercial cultivation and sales are still banned in the state. So, in Maine Cannabis is a commodity that can be grown legally in backyards but can’t share the commercial space, it only boggles mind and nothing else.
The first bill regarding commercial regulation of cannabis couldn’t make it to the legislation, thanks to the strong Republican opposition. The new compromise passed by the House has several stipulations pertinent to commercial activity and domestic cultivation of cannabis.
For instance, to get a commercial license for operating a cannabis business, applicants must be Maine residents for four years or more. However, the new bill is not much supportive of domestic cultivation because it has cut the number of homegrown plants from six to three. Economists think this provision has been added to promote the commercial activity of cannabis. As per some estimates, legalized operations of cannabis would add $21 million to the income stream of Maine in the form of excise and sales taxes.
The bill will now be presented on the Senate Floor and from there it will end up on the Governor’s table. So, it’s still a long way for the bill to become a part of legislation. The situation in Maine shows that how legislative deadlocks can deny citizens their basic rights. Even two years after approving cannabis legalization, the residents of Maine are still far from the retail sales of cannabis.