Maine: Lawmakers give initial approval to marijuana regulatory bill

The Legislature has given preliminary approval and may soon send to Gov. Paul LePage a bill that funds and designates the agency that will administer recreational marijuana sales in Maine, approved by voters at referendum in November.

The bill gives the Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations the authority to oversee recreational marijuana use. That’s a change from the measure approved by voters, which would have given regulatory authority to the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.


Maine: City and town leaders grapple with how to regulate recreational marijuana

Across Maine, the knowledge that the sale of recreational marijuana will eventually be legal has many towns and cities bracing for the change.

It’s a daunting task for the local officials who are considering the potential effects of legalization, from the odors that could waft off of growing facilities, to the burden those facilities could place on water and electric systems, to the impaired drivers that could hit the road.


Lobbyists Lining up to Influence Marijuana Laws in Maine

More than $140,000 has already been spent in the state as stakeholders seek a voice in how lawmakers regulate the lucrative recreational industry.

Retail sales of marijuana may still be a year away, but cannabis-related cash is already flowing at the Maine State House as businesses jockey to influence the policies that will govern the lucrative recreational market.

Between Dec. 1 and March 31, clients paid lobbyists more than $140,000 for representation on marijuana-related issues in Augusta even though lawmakers have only taken up a handful of the roughly 50 bills connected to the drug.


Medical Marijuana Providers Seek First Chance at Retail Sales in Maine

Other states have let some sell early while rules for new stores are created, but who would qualify is debatable.

Medical marijuana dispensaries and caregivers are quietly lobbying state lawmakers to allow them to sell pot to recreational users before retail cannabis stores open in Maine next year.


American High: State-by-State Guide to Legal Pot

While Congress has largely refused to roll back, or even debate, the federal prohibition on pot, local voters across the U.S. have cast ballots to end the war on marijuana. But the nation's patchwork of pot laws can be confusing – even in the states where it's allowed – so here's a blueprint of what you can and can't do in the eight states (plus D.C.) where weed's been legalized for recreational use.


Cashing in on Cannabis: How New Freedoms Began a Green Gold Rush in the United States

Like many states, Illinois is in deep financial trouble. Looking at the latest audit,  its black hole has deepened to $9.6bn (£7.6bn) and, according to the state’s financial comptroller, the books are “abysmal”.

But there could be salvation at hand if it becomes the first state in the midwest to legalise and tax the recreational use of marijuana. Two Democrats in the state legislature have introduced a bill to change the law, arguing this could raise as much as $700m a year.

Should the bill go through, it would bring the number of states where recreational pot is legal up to nine. If you throw in Washington DC, then more than 80m Americans would be free to enjoy cannabis.


Kidney patient taken off transplant list for using medical marijuana

A kidney patient in Maine has been taken off a transplant wait list for using medical marijuana.

State lawmakers are now considering a bill that would prohibit Maine hospitals from doing that, even though one local hospital says there are medical reasons to disqualify patients who use pot.

Garry Godfrey has Alport Syndrome, a hereditary disease which causes renal failure at a young age. He says it also causes debilitating pain, nausea and anxiety.

"I've tried so many pharmaceuticals and none of them worked, but the medical cannabis does,” Godfrey said. “It helps me function. It helps me take care of my kids."

Godfrey says he needs a new kidney and was put on Maine Medical Center's transplant list in 2003. In 2010 Maine Med adopted a new policy.


Maine: Houlton rolls out welcome mat for marijuana businesses

With a 5-0 vote at their Feb. 21 meeting, town councilors approved moving forward with an ordinance aimed at welcoming entrepreneurs interested in growing and selling marijuana for recreational use.

“This town has been struggling for years,” Councilor Sue Waite-York said. “We’re not in a position to let this opportunity slip by.”


Maine lawmakers to hear feedback on marijuana legalization Tuesday

Lawmakers are looking for public feedback on how to proceed with the many complicated aspects of marijuana legalization.

On Tuesday, a special committee charged with facilitating Maine’s transition into a legal marijuana marketplace will hold a meeting to hear public comments on the process. The 17-member Committee on Marijuana Legalization Implementation was created to help guide state agencies that will craft the rules and regulations around the industry, as well as to review the dozens of marijuana-related bills pending in the Legislature.


Will insurers begin covering medical marijuana?

Medical marijuana has a long history of being denied coverage by insurance companies. Up to now most insurance companies refuse to cover cannabinoid treatments, typically citing federal regulations as the main reason to decline medical marijuana coverage. This is especially true in the United States where cannabis is a Schedule I controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act with “no perceived medicinal value”.

In New Mexico, an employee hurt on the job was denied medical marijuana coverage under his worker’s compensation insurance and his suit to force the coverage failed. Beside the ruling in New Mexico, lower courts in Michigan, Maine, Massachusetts, and Connecticut have given similar verdicts to workplace insurers.


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