Maine Poised to Push Back Retail Cannabis Until 2018

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — State lawmakers on Thursday unanimously approved legislation delaying the retail sale of cannabis until at least February 2018.

A referendum approved by voters in November gave state regulators nine months to adopt rules for marijuana legalization. The legislation will extend that deadline.

The legislation also makes clear that individuals younger than 21 years old can’t possess or use cananbis. Growing and possessing recreational marijuana, however, is still legal starting Monday.

The bill is headed for the desk of Republican Gov. Paul LePage, who’s called on lawmakers for money for the rule-making process.

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LePage also wants the liquor and lottery agency to head that process instead of the agricultural department, which he worries could lose federal funding under the new administration for licensing marijuana.

The House rejected an amendment to appropriate $1.6 million to the liquor bureau for rule-making.

Democratic House Speaker Sara Gideon’s spokeswoman said funds should be available for regulating retail cannabis but that a joint legislative committee should decide which agency has oversight over rule making.

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