AUGUSTA – A legislative committee today gave unanimous approval to a one-year moratorium on the retail sale of marijuana in Maine. Over the past three days, the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee has been considering LD 88, “An Act to Delay the Implementation of Certain Portions of the Marijuana Legalization Act.”
It was introduced to the committee as emergency legislation after numerous concerns arose following the passage of Question 1 on last November’s ballot. When it passes in the full Legislature, the legislation will delay implementation of retail sales of marijuana until February 1, 2018 and prohibit Maine citizens who are under the age of 21 from possessing the drug, among other measures.
Over the next year, a special legislative committee on marijuana will adopt laws that address marijuana sales, as well as issues such as public safety and workplace issues.
“It is very encouraging to see bipartisan support for this measure regarding the marijuana moratorium,” Senate President Michael Thibodeau (R-Waldo) said. “Although Maine voters approved this measure, albeit by a very narrow margin, I believe it is clear to all that there are many unforeseen circumstances surrounding legalization that impact public safety, employment and a number of other areas. It is hard to imagine that anyone who voted in favor of legalization wanted children to get their hands on this drug.
“This moratorium will allow our elected officials to create sound public policy around legalization in a responsible manner.”
Senator Majority Leader Garrett Mason (R-Androscoggin), who chairs the VLA Committee, said, “I am incredibly proud of the work we were able to accomplish on the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee on LD 88. It’s impressive that a newly-appointed committee was able to come together to thoroughly examine an issue as divisive as legalized marijuana and reach a unanimous decision.
“The more time the committee spent reviewing the language of Question 1 from last November’s ballot, the more issues that were found. Question 1, which narrowly passed on last November’s ballot, was a very complex bill. There is no way that Maine voters were able to fully comprehend some of the measures included in this lengthy bill, based on a single sentence on the ballot. It is simply not possible to concentrate 28 pages of law into a simple yes or no question.
“I am confident that armed with LD 88, the select committee will now have a good chance of respecting the will of the voters without causing any undue harm.”