Two legislative committees in the Pine Tree State have decided that they need more time to perfect Maine marijuana regulations.
On Jan. 25. 2018, the state legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee voted to approve a moratorium bill that would delay the implementation of new medical marijuana rules issued by the state Department of Health and Human Services, as reported by the Portland Press Herald.
Focusing primarily on medical marijuana caregivers, and set to take effect on Feb. 1, the rules have been met with criticism from medical marijuana advocates and caregivers; many of whom see the disclosure rules as a violation of HIPPA. A lawsuit has also been filed to stop implementation of the rules.
Although the committee members were cognizant of the concerns raised, the committee voted to delay the rules not out of privacy concerns but rather out of the belief that the legislature would be better suited to reforming the state’s medical marijuana program.
On Jan. 26, the Marijuana Legalization Implementation Committee voted to extend a moratorium on recreational marijuana sales. Set to expire on Feb. 1, the moratorium was put in place by the legislature until lawmakers could devise Maine marijuana regulations for the new market.
The legislature eventually came up with a regulatory bill, but it was ultimately vetoed by Gov. Paul LePage. As the moratorium deadline inched ever closer without any rules in place, the committee decided that it would be best to extend the deadline to April 18.
“We don’t have a bill out, we don’t have rules made, we don’t have a system up and running, so it seems a prudent thing to do,” said Sen. Roger Katz, as quoted by the Portland Press Herald. “What happens if that Feb. 1 date comes and goes and we haven’t extended the moratorium? The answer is probably nothing, if we haven’t set up a system of licensing … but just to be extra cautious and careful.”