Maine prepares for opening of retail marijuana shops
BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - Friday marks the first day for the legal sale of recreational marijuana in Maine.
In the fall of 2016, Mainers approved the adult use of recreational marijuana.
Since then, it’s been a long and bumpy road for the industry to take hold.
“The following two years had multiple legislative rewrites of the Marijuana Legalization Act. Multiple Governor’s vetoes. It actually became law at the end of 2018,” said Erik Gundersen the Director of the Office of Marijuana Policy.
The majority of the groundwork has taken place since the start of 2019.
“With the Mills administration there was the creation of my office, the Office of Marijuana Policy in February of last year. And really when we showed up, we started with a blank slate and we got to work on the regulations that we put together in short order that serve as the structure for this new industry," said Gundersen.
The COVID-19 pandemic delayed the start but state officials now says they’re prepared for a safe opening of sales.
Bruce Barcott is an author and Senior Editor at Leafly, based in Seattle.
He has researched the marijuana industry in other state’s as well as Maine.
He believes he’s seen a health and safety factor with legalizing retail stores.
“Take a look at various products and know that they’ve been lab tested. You know what the potency is. You know that they’re not full of a bunch of junk," said Barcott.
Barcott adds there are expected tax benefits to the state as well.
“You can figure that you’ll see about eventually $250 million in annual cannabis sales. And you’ve got 10% excise tax in Maine. So that would bring in about $25 million dollars in tax revenue every year," said Barcott.
Eight stores in Maine have been approved for retail sales, beginning Friday.
You can see the list of locations on the Office of Marijuana Policy website.
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