PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — It’s a inexperienced Monday in Maine.
The first tangible outcomes of state voters’ determination to legalize marijuana are being felt as possession and residential progress of marijuana turns into authorized. Voters narrowly handed the poll query in November, and the ready interval between the vote and legalization has expired.
Contentious features linger, together with what guidelines ought to govern companies that may promote marijuana, such as retail shops and social golf equipment. The Legislature has been hammering out these particulars, and they’ll take months to completely craft, which means will probably be months earlier than marijuana companies open within the state.
But it is authorized to smoke it as of Monday. It’s additionally authorized to present it, develop it and possess as much as 2.5 ounces of it.
“It’s huge. No longer will we be punishing adults for using a safer substance than alcohol,” stated David Boyer, marketing campaign supervisor for the poll query. “We’re not making criminals out of thousands of Mainers who choose to use marijuana.”
The marijuana legalization vote was shut, passing by solely about four,000 votes, and opponents of the unfold of marijuana have vowed to proceed to push for restrictions within the state.
Legalization additionally sparked a row between legislators and Republican Gov. Paul LePage. Lawmakers on Jan. 26 unanimously accredited laws delaying the retail sale of marijuana till February 2018.
But LePage at first declined to log off on such a delay due to considerations he has about funding and oversight. He ended up signing it on Jan. 27. LePage’s signing of the invoice additionally closed a loophole that would have allowed Mainers underneath 21 to own pot.
Cities and cities have additionally thought-about moratoriums on the institution of marijuana companies, and a few have already permitted such short-term bans. Many native officers have stated they do not need to get into the enterprise of issuing marijuana licenses till the state guidelines are firmly in place.
Scott Gagnon, chairman of Mainers Protecting Our Youth and Communities, has stated that legalization will deliver a “huge cultural change for Maine” and that cities and cities are proper to be cautious about whether or not they’ll permit gross sales inside their borders.
Massachusetts, California and Nevada additionally legalized leisure marijuana with a referendum final yr.
Maine additionally has a long-standing medical marijuana program, and supporters of leisure pot have vowed that broader legalization won’t intrude with it.