Provisions protect employees’ off-the-job Marijuana use in Maine

Provisions in the state’s 2016 voter-initiated marijuana law that seek to limit employers from penalizing employees for their off-the-job marijuana use went into effect last week.


As Maine’s recreational pot law stalls, lawmakers seek to revamp medical marijuana program

Watching the effort to create Maine’s recreational marijuana market has been a lot like observing a rocket take off from Cape Canaveral — lots of anticipation, waiting, and more than a few scrubbed launches.

But in Augusta there’s a quieter movement afoot that could significantly affect hundreds of Mainers in the state’s medical marijuana industry. It comes at a time when the recreational law appears to be taking a bite out of medical pot sales.

Alysia Melnick helped lead the 2016 campaign to legalize adult-use marijuana, and she’s kept a close eye on the Legislature’s tortured efforts to get the market up and running.


Maine employers can no longer drug test for Marijuana, but legal sales still stalled

Maine is now the first state to institutionally protect employees from unfair hiring and firing practices due to cannabis use. At the same time, adult-use pot shops are still nowhere to be found.

Maine's year-old moratorium on adult-use cannabis sales is set to expire today, but the state is still months, if not longer, from opening recreational pot shops.

But as state legislators and Republican Governor Paul LePage continue to delay open access to dispensaries, starting today, February 1st, Maine businesses will no longer be able to fire employees for off-the-clock weed use or disqualify job applicants based solely on testing positive for marijuana after a drug test.


The 5 places set to legalize recreational Cannabis in 2018

This year, at least five jurisdictions will be either introducing or implementing legislation to legalise cannabis for recreational purposes.

So far, Uruguay is the only country – and the only jurisdiction outside of North America - to have fully regulated a legal market for recreational cannabis. However, sub-national jurisdictions – namely several US states - have regulated the trade, including California, Colorado, and Alaska. This is despite the drug continuing to be illegal under federal law.


Suit aims to protect Maine medical pot patients, growers from new regulations

A lawsuit filed this week in U.S. District Court in Bangor seeks to postpone or limit implementation of new rules governing the use of medical marijuana, claiming they violate the Constitution and patient privacy laws.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday, names Commissioner Ricker Hamilton in its complaint against the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. Plaintiffs include state-licensed growers Justin Olsen and Nancy Shaw, who own the New World Organics medical marijuana storefront in Belfast. In addition, two anonymous plaintiffs are identified as medical marijuana patients.


Maine lawmakers trying to rein in large medical marijuana growers

State lawmakers want to overhaul Maine’s medical marijuana caregiver program.

On Wednesday, the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee held hearings on seven new medical cannabis bills, ranging from a plan to tax adult-use cannabis to pay for medical cannabis testing to a bill that would allow opioid addicts to qualify for medical cannabis certification.

Over and over again, lawmakers and even some caregivers admitted the network that was once based on a neighbor-helping-neighbor philosophy had exploded in size and scale, warranting a new way to license and regulate an increasingly sophisticated industry.


Agreement reached on retail Marijuana in Maine, but it could be again delayed

A coalition of supporters and opponents of recreational marijuana says it has come up with a framework to regulate the drug in Maine. The announcement marks a possible path forward as legislators restart the process to create rules that affect how marijuana is tested, taxed and sold. But it also comes amid questions about the possibility of a federal crackdown.

Dozens of people crowded the hearing room Tuesday as the Legislature’s Marijuana Implementation Committee began work on a bill that could set up the regulatory structure for recreational cannabis.

But at the beginning of the hearing, Republican Sen. Roger Katz made it clear that another cloud looms over a process already complicated by competing financial and political interests.


These states could legalize recreational cannabis in 2018

As of January 1, California began allowing the sale of marijuana to anyone over the age of 21. The move is expected to give a significant boost to California’s marijuana farmers, distributors, and retailers; an industry that analysts estimate will be worth around $7 billion within the next few years.

Although California started off the year with the most buzz around bud, it’s not the only state slated to legalize pot in 2018. The following states have either already legalized and are starting to transition into the commercial sale of weed, or are poised to let citizens legally toke.

New Jersey


Maine's regulated Marijuana market could still be saved

“Question 1 is not just bad for Maine, it can be deadly,” said state Governor Paul LePage in a warning to voters against approving a marijuana legalization measure. “We do not need to legalize another drug that could lead to more deaths.”

With the governor’s anti-cannabis rhetoric, it was no surprise when he vetoed a bill to regulate marijuana sales. It looked like the state might miss its deadline to set up a regulated market by February 1.

But now, state lawmakers are expressing hope that they could still pass a marijuana bill with LePage’s blessing. The legislative committee in charge of setting up a regulatory framework has set up a public hearing on a new bill for January 5 and is seeking a meeting with the governor in hopes of reaching a compromise.


Joy to the weed: Marijuana legalization comes bearing gifts

Peter Bernard’s Yuletide plans include dressing up in a tuxedo emblazoned with marijuana leaves, donning a green Santa hat and doling out cookie bars made with marijuana to his friends from a big pillowcase.

“That’s me exercising my right to give marijuana this Christmas,” said Bernard, a Taunton, Massachusetts, pot lover who heads the Massachusetts Growers Advocacy Council when not doubling as “Pot Santa” at events for weed enthusiasts.

Not everyone’s plans are quite so flamboyant, but for many pot lovers, this Christmas is much more about reefer than wreaths.

Gift-giving has long been a part of marijuana culture, and the drug’s newly legal status is a source of Yuletide celebration in four states.


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