In mid-September, the state of Maine’s Department of Administrative and Financial Services issued a notice that it is seeking to hire a consultant to advise on the implementation of the state’s adult-use marijuana program.
This announcement follows a similar practice that the department, along with the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, followed in a request for information (RFI) that sought “input on the implementation process for adult-use recreational marijuana.”
Among the entities that answered that RFI were BOTEC, a Los-Angeles drug policy advisory group; Freedman & Koski, a firm that, as its website puts it, works “with government, research institutions, communities and private businesses to get legalization right;” the Marijuana Policy Project, and Weedmaps.
According to the Portland Press Herald, the legalization consultant will “write the rules and regulations needed to license and regulate adult-use cannabis businesses and implement the new medical marijuana law that will add new dispensaries and allow caregivers to open retail stores.” The Press Herald further reports:
Proposals must be submitted by a Nov. 1 deadline. The applicants will be scored by a selection team based on qualifications and experience, proposed services, cost and impact on the Maine economy. The agency has not set a selection deadline, but whoever is picked must finish writing the rules no later than April 30.
The legalization of marijuana in Maine has had a contentious history. In May, the state’s Democratic House and Republican Senate surpassed the necessary two-thirds vote to override Republican Govenor Paul LePage’s veto of an adult-use legalization bill. LePage, whose controversial statements have attracted national attention, has made a video in which he lists the “deadly” threats of legalization, including increased traffic accidents in Colorado, the correspondence of marijuana use with heroin use, THC levels in edibles that can kill children and pets, people smoking weed at state fairs, and other dangers.
LePage has not stopped there with comments about drugs. “What I think we ought to do is bring the guillotine back. We could have public executions,” he said, in response to questions about how to punish drug dealers, about whom he also said:
The traffickers … these are guys by the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty. These type of guys that come from Connecticut, New York. They come up here, they sell their heroin, then they go back home. Incidentally, half the time they impregnate a young, white girl before they leave, which is the real sad thing because then we have another issue we gotta deal with down the road.
Le Page, however, is not so strict in his approach to other harmful chemicals. He tried and failed to lower restrictions on bisphenol A (BPA), which disrupts the endocrine system. He joked that “If you take a plastic bottle and put it in the microwave and you heat it up, it gives off a chemical similar to estrogen. And so the worst case is some women might have little beards.”
Maine’s adult-use bill was sponsored by Representative Teresa Pierce, a Democrat, who has also sponsored legislation to make it easier to vote. The bill, which has not yet become law, “would establish a true early voting system in Maine, allowing voters to go to their town office (or other polling place) in the two weeks prior to an election to cast their vote, just as they normally would on election day.” Pierce said of the bill: “My primary motivation for putting forward this bill is to streamline the process of voting, to reduce the workload on town clerks both on and leading up to election day and to provide cost savings to our municipalities.” Pierce has also sponsored legislation to improve absentee voting and to provide a minimum of 30 minutes for lunch for students.
Those interested in applying to advise the state on legalization may do so via the department’s web site.
What do you think? Will Maine obtain and follow good advice on adult-use implementation? Leave a comment below.