PORTLAND (NEWS CENTER Maine)-- In 2016, Maine voters approved a referendum that legalized adult use recreational marijuana.
Two years later the state is still working to implement that law, leaving many people looking to set up a retail pot business in limbo.
But while Maine is still working on how best to regulate the sale of marijuana, the City of Portland is doing what it can to be ready for the rollout.
Christine Grimando is the city's Senior Planner. "Our thought in the planning and urban development department was to start getting that zoning framework in place."
The Planning and Urban Development Department came up with a marijuana zoning map that will dictate where recreational or adult-use marijuana and medical marijuana businesses can open.
The map is similar to the one city planners set up for medical marijuana businesses eight years ago.
Grimando says "it's pretty close to where dispensaries were allowed and where some of the more industrial uses like cultivation were allowed."
Retails stores would mostly be located in business zones, including downtown Portland and the Old Port. "We’ve tried to think these things through rationally, where do we allow the sale of other things, what’s a reasonable way to start accommodating this new industry. As well as try to anticipate the impact as well."
It's a new industry that is booming in other states and if Maine follows suit would bring a lot of extra traffic to areas already congested. Grimando says "we always have concern about congestion with new uses, but at the same time we want active uses to thrive in the old port as well. And we have the tools to revisit that if need be."
Tammie Snow is a marijuana attorney in Portland. " A lot of times when people see a lawyer it’s because something bad has happened. With my clients' good things are happening, they’re setting up businesses. they’re going after this new market and they’re really excited."
It will be some time before the first retail store is open in Maine, but Tammy Snow say they're coming and a large majority of Mainers want them. "There is a huge economy out there for this."