AUGUSTA — Today is the last day the legislature is scheduled to be in session.
One group is awaiting the outcome of a bill that would give more power to medical marijuana caregivers.
Rep. Lynne Williams, a Democrat from Bar harbor, is sponsoring the bill that would change how rules for medical marijuana are put in place.
She said all proposed changes should go through a legislative process before being enacted.
“If they have major rules they’re supposed to come to the legislature be assigned to a committee, assigned to a committee, and reviewed by the legislature,” Williams said.
Williams said the bill comes in response to the proposed changes from the office of marijuana policy.
She said one of those rules would require extra security for caregivers.
“Those systems are very expensive. I talked to some security providers and they were talking $5000 to $10,000.”
Susan Meehan, the chairperson for the Maine Cannabis Coalition said another policy would implement a tracking system for sellers.
She said not only is it expensive but it has not been working around the country.
“This program is used nationally and it’s having big trouble across the nation,” said Meehan. “There are two states currently in lawsuits in Missouri and Oklahoma.”
Advocates of the bill lined the halls of the statehouse to show their support.
Paul T. McCarrier, the owner of a 1 mill in Belfast said if the bill passes it would help small businesses survive.
“Big tobacco does not want this bill to pass because they do not want the legislature to have oversight of the medical marijuana program and big tobacco wants to put the small businesses out of business,” McCarrier said.
He said those companies include The Wellness Connection, Cura leaf, and more.
In a statement from the Office of Marijuana Policy, David Heidrich said “For the better part of the last six months, the Office of Marijuana Policy has been engaged in rulemaking which would implement statutorily-required accountability and transparency initiatives for the state’s $300 million medical cannabis industry. While our rulemaking contains important public health and safety measures, we have temporarily suspended these efforts as we await the outcome of legislation currently being considered in the House and Senate.”
The bill has ten sponsors, five of which are Republican.
Despite the bipartisan support, only time will tell if the bill will make it out of the full legislature and onto the governor’s desk.