On November 8, 2016 Maine voters approved Question 1 and joined eight other states to have legalized the recreational use, retail sale and taxation of marijuana. On January 27, 2017, the legislature placed a moratorium on certain parts of the law regarding retail sales and taxation until February 2018, while a 17-member legislative committee worked to overhaul the Marijuana Legalization Act.
The moratorium expired on February 1, 2018 after a legislative effort to pass a short-term extension was unsuccessful. However, retail sales are unable to take place until a regulatory framework is established by the legislature, the Department of Administrative and Financial Services (DAFS) completes rulemaking, and those rules are approved by the 129th Legislature.
With the passage of LD 1719, DAFS will engage in a competitive bidding process that will be utilized to award a contract for consulting services to assist with rulemaking. Individuals interested in this process may wish to complete the form on our Stay Connected page.
Once a consultant is hired, the Department estimates that it will take no less than nine months to draft, finalize and fully implement the rulemaking process that would be required to establish a recreational program. In addition to hiring a rulemaking consultant, DAFS will also issue a competitive procurement for a seed-to-sale tracking system that will be used to regulate this new market.
Regardless of these changes to Maine law, marijuana is still illegal at the federal level. Mainers should educate themselves about the potential consequences of recreational use of marijuana.