After years of delays, state-licensed adult-use marijuana sales will begin this Friday.
State regulators finally began issuing licenses last month, after having granted conditional approvals for licensees this past spring. It is anticipated that the state’s initial rollout will have difficulty meeting demand.
“While lawmakers slowed down the people’s will for years, this is a historic victory for those of us who recognize marijuana prohibition for what it is: a racist policy designed to disenfranchise black and low-income Mainers,” said NORML Board Member Diane Russell, who was instrumental in Maine’s legalization efforts. “This victory would not be possible without an incredible team of advocates who literally worked around the clock to get this on the ballot and to win. They’re heroes for standing up for real justice.”
Maine voters initially approved the legalization of cannabis sales in November 2016 by passing a statewide initiative, but lawmakers – led by former Republican Gov. Paul LePage – repeatedly took steps to delay the law’s implementation. Rules governing adult-use cannabis production and sales were not ultimately finalized until 2019.
“Maine adults should have had access to safe, legal marijuana years ago,” said NORML State Policies Coordinator Carly Wolf. “Nonetheless, it’s encouraging to see it finally happen now. Consumers desire access to a regulated marketplace, not an underground market dominated largely by unregulated and untaxed enterprises.”