AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Maine’s new legal marijuana law will take effect in January, but Attorney General Janet Mills says it will likely take a month to create all the new regulations to manage it.
Voters passed Question One on Election Day by fewer than 4,500 votes, and petitions were submitted Wednesday to force a recount. Mills was opposed to the marijuana legalization provided by Question 1. Now, if the law survives the recount, her office will have to help the Legislature implement it. Mills says she has many questions, including how to regulate the commercial growing and sale of the drug, and what state department should be responsible? What will the standards be for determining if someone is under the influence, since there is no immediate test for marijuana OUI, as there is for alcohol. She says lawmakers will have to discuss issues such as marijuana in the workplace and in public, and questions of legal liability if someone under the influence of the drug gets into a fatal accident. Alcohol laws already have those provisions.
“There’s no similar provision for use of marijuana in the new social clubs if they leave under the influence,” says Mills. “Proponents of the bill say regulating marijuana like alcohol... this bill does not regulate marijuana like alcohol it’s (going to) take a lot of fine tuning to be able to do that.”
Legislative leaders have also told NEWS CENTER creating those new rules for marijuana will be a major task for the coming session.
Supporters of Question One downplayed the difficulty of implementing the law. David Boyer of Yes on One said Maine should look to regulations developed in Colorado and Washington for guidance. Boyer also said supporters want to be included in the process of developing those new regulations.
AG Mills said the new law will take effect in early January, but only for people growing and using their own marijuana. All commercial growing and sale of pot will have to wait until the new regulations are created.