Maine Legislation Would Allow Marijuana Drive-Thrus, Home Delivery
Online sales, home delivery and even marijuana drive-thrus? The newly legalized state of Maine could fast become the Northeast’s epicenter for legal cannabis.
A draft bill proposed by Maine’s Marijuana Legalization Implementation Committee would dramatically increase access for adult-use cannabis consumers in the New England state. It sets up a full regulatory system for cultivation and production licenses, sets THC limits for edible products, and allows for home delivery but no social use. The tax rate would be 20%. A public hearing on the draft bill was held on Sept. 25 at the Maine State House in Augusta.
Proponents Want Marijuana Treated Like Alcohol
On Nov. 8, Question 1 passed by an extremely close margin, with only 50.26% of the state’s population voting in favor of the legal adult-use of cannabis. Ever since then, the state legislature has been working to pass a comprehensive regulatory framework for implementing sales and production.
David Boyer, Marijuana Policy Project‘s Maine political director, says the rules should be the same for marijuana and alcohol: “If Maine allows it for alcohol, we see no reason why it shouldn’t be allowed for marijuana, the safer substance, so long as Maine puts in place reasonable regulations to protect public safety and the consumer.”
Maine already allows home deliveries of alcohol and even has several drive-thru alcohol stores. Since Question 1 was passed on the principle of treating marijuana like alcohol, why not abide by the same laws for cannabis?
Others Want To Move ‘Slow and Cautious’
Although Maine seems to be breezing right along toward legal sales, some members of the state legislature that it’s happening far too quickly.
“Given the fact that about half the people in the state voted against legalization, I think we ought to go slow and be cautious in the beginning,” Republican State Senator Roger Katz railed against the proposed regulations in a statement to the Portland Press Herald. “This is a legislative process. We reach decisions collectively. This is just a draft. I anticipate a vigorous debate. We’ve still got a ways to go yet.”
The Future of Legal Cannabis Access
Maine isn’t the first legal state to grapple with allowing marijuana drive-thrus. home delivery or social use.
Earlier this year, Colorado became the first state to have a fully-compliant marijuana drive-thru. Known as the Tumbleweed Express Drive-Thru, customers are required to pull into a building-like structure in order to abide by Colorado’s pot laws. Other states, like Washington and Nevada, explicitly forbid cannabis drive-thrus.
Home delivery is a similar story. Oregon allows home delivery of up to $3,000 worth, but delivery is banned in certain municipalities. Nevada is still debating a permanent home delivery framework after temporarily allowing it after legal sales started on July 1. Alaska and Colorado don’t allow online home delivery services.
According to a previous Freedom Leaf report, “Alaska could be the first state to implement social-use regulations.” Denver is also moving in that direction.
MPP’s Boyer disagrees with the draft bill delaying social use until 2019. “That’s simply kicking the can down the road,” he contends. “Cities and towns already have the power to ban any kind of marijuana business in their community, including social clubs, so we see no need for a moratorium. Mainers voted to adopt a policy that regulates marijuana like alcohol, and there is no logical reason to temporarily prohibit law-abiding adults from using marijuana responsibly at a social club.”
In many ways, Maine will be breaking new ground regardless of whether or not home deliveries, drive-thrus or social use are allowed. Maine and Massachusetts are the only states east of the Rockies where cannabis is legal, so all eyes will be on New England as it rolls out the first adult-use cannabis policies on the East Coast in 2018.
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