Maine residents and visitors looking forward to cannabis social clubs will have to wait much longer than previously expected. On Feb. 21, 2018, the state Joint Select Committee on Marijuana Legalization Implementations voted 10-4 to eliminate all references to cannabis social clubs from the legislative implementation bill.
Although cannabis social clubs were part of the 2016 voter-approved initiative that legalized recreational cannabis, lawmakers have been reluctant to implement the policy without having another state do it first.
“No other state has licensed social clubs,” said Sen. Roger Katz, R-Augusta, co-chairman of the implementation committee, as quoted by the Portland Press Herald. “This is clearly the law, but it passed by the narrowest of margins. We ought to go slow and be conservative.”
Katz went on to say that he personally does not believe that the voters who were in favor of the legalization initiative were aware of the provision that allows for cannabis social clubs.
Supporters of cannabis social clubs say that they give tourists a place to legally use cannabis that they purchase and will help cut down on public cannabis consumption, but opponents are concerned about the prospect of individuals driving under the influence of cannabis.
The committee will have one more vote to finalize the bill, which is scheduled to take place on Feb. 23.