Tuesday, 11 December 2018 18:16

Marijuana retail stores waiting on recreational licenses Featured

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BELFAST - Maine voters legalized recreational marijuana sales more than two years ago, but state regulators have yet to license the first retail store. The delay could be causing some losses in tax revenue.

With a new administration, some marijuana retailers are hoping to get recreational sales licenses sooner rather than later.

 

"I think it's a golden opportunity for this state, especially in a rural economy," said Legalize Maine President Paul McCarrier. "We're really hoping that when the law's finally implemented and the applications are scored that the licenses go to Maine tax payers and Maine businesses, not out-of-state companies or shell companies.

 

Lawmakers hoped the licenses would be issued by this coming spring, but it's tough to say if that'll hold up. In any case, the state is losing out on revenue dollars.

 

"I'm hoping that we'll be able to have a system up and running soon to capture that revenue because people are still smoking cannabis whether they're buying it legally or not," said McCarrier.

 

Places like Colorado approved recreational marijuana in 2012, with the first retail locations opening in 2013. Sales have steadily increased over those past few years, and according to McCarrier, we could see similar results in Maine.

 

"I mean we're talking in the hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars, and also I think that would help encourage some of these municipalities to get over some of their fear of adult-use cannabis," said McCarrier.

 

He also says retail stores would help address Maine's workforce problem.

 

"I see cannabis as an opportunity for a lot of young people in this state to stay here and stay in their rural communities, and I'm hoping that the administration will work on rules that will make that possible," said McCarrier.

 

He also hopes governor-elect Janet Mills will help implement the recreational licensing as soon as possible.

Alex Bobbyn

Morning Anchor/Reporter
[email protected]

Alex Bobbyn joined the ABC 7 and FOX 22 news team in July of 2018.

He is a graduate of Penn State University, where he studied broadcast journalism and economics. While at Penn State, Alex served as the general manager o...