Three Years After Voters Legalized Marijuana, Maine Develops Plan To Begin Sales

Paul McCarrier of Legalize Maine testifies during Thursday’s hearing. McCarrier told the state marijuana policy committee that the market rules should be consumer friendly and not make people feel like they’re doing a drug deal when purchasing legal cannabis.

Other caregivers like Arliegh Kraus, a grower from Knox County, say the proposed fines for violating the rules could easily be absorbed by big cultivators and retailers, but could crush smaller operators.

“If most of these proposals pass, growers and caregivers and shop owners are signing their death sentence,” Kraus says.

Others who testified highlighted the conflict between smaller business owners seeking a niche in the new marketplace and those planning potentially larger operations designed to compete and dominate.

Attorney Hannah King with Maine Professionals for Regulating Marijuana worried that some licensing requirements could become public records, which could put some operators at a competitive disadvantage.

“Including required disclosures of operating agreements, management contracts, branding agreements and the like. The regulations also require the disclosure of trade secrets, such as standard operating procedures for each individual marijuana product a manufacturer intends to produce,” she says.

Officials with marijuana policy office have says the rules are designed to protect public health while giving operators of all size a chance. Those same officials will have a chance to modify the rules after the public comment period ends June 2.

It will be up to the Legislature to ratify the rules, potentially as early as next month.

Updated 4:12 p.m. May 23, 2019