Crowd offers ideas to lawmakers on marijuana sales regulation
AUGUSTA — Lawmakers heard hours of testimony Tuesday about the economic opportunities, enforcement challenges and regulatory headaches posed by recreational marijuana as the state slowly moves toward allowing retail sales of the drug.
While marijuana use became legal for Mainers age 21 and over on Jan. 30, lawmakers are just beginning the process of setting up a regulatory and enforcement framework before the licensing of commercial sales starts in February 2018. On Tuesday, more than 75 individuals – from medical marijuana growers to opponents of legal cannabis and municipal officials – testified during a wide-ranging public comment session to help inform that process.
“It needs to be a level playing field for all who are involved,” said Scott Durst, a 21-year veteran of the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency who now works as a security consultant to the cannabis industry. “Citizens of this state need to know they made the vote – it’s legal – but there has to be accountability and everybody needs to follow those rules.”
Others urged policymakers to “respect the will of the voters” and enable sales of marijuana despite uncertainty over the Trump administration’s attitude toward the eight states that have legalized a drug that is still prohibited under federal law.
Photo: Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal