AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine has hired a former deputy health commissioner to serve as director of the state's recreational marijuana program.

The Portland Press Herald reports Scott Lever started in his new role March 4.

He will earn $89,000 a year and serve under Erik Gundersen at the state's new Office of Marijuana Policy.

Lever previously oversaw the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention as a deputy health commissioner.

The state's adult-use recreational marijuana program was approved in a 2016 citizen referendum. However, sales have been slowed by governor vetoes and legislative rewrites.

The state has set a goal of 2019 adult-use sales.

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David Boyer with the state chapter of the Marijuana Policy Project says Lever's hiring hopefully means the state will meet its deadline.