AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Legislators began a daylong hearing Tuesday morning on the proposed new version of a recreational marijuana law. It was drafted by the Legislature's special Marijuana committee, to implement the referendum passed by voters in 2016.
While most people in the audience praised the committee's seven months of work on the new law, two key issues came up early: Current marijuana caregivers say they should be given the first chance to become growers and sellers of recreational marijuana, to prevent the new business from being monopolized by large corporations.
"Save this cottage industry," said caregiver Jason Smith from Durham.
The issue of social clubs — places where people could gather to use marijuana — has also become a concern for some towns. Representatives from Cornish and Sullivan both said people in their towns had already been promoting illegal marijuana social clubs, and said residents are worried.
The proposed new law would not allow social clubs until the summer of 2019, but some town officials asked that social clubs be dropped from the law altogether.
Lawmakers expect to spend the next two days working through any changes in the bill, then have it voted on by the full Legislature in a special session in late October.