Out of the four states that legalized marijuana in 2016 Maine is going to be the last to implement the possession, consumption, and cultivation provisions of its initiative. Had the vote been declared quickly by Maine’s Governor and signed off on by Maine’s Secretary of State right after the election, the consumer protections of the initiative would have already been in effect. California and Massachusetts have already implemented the consumer side of their laws. Nevada’s law will take effect on January 1st.
As will other states that have legalized marijuana, municipalities in Maine are putting in place temporary moratoriums that prevent marijuana businesses from being located there. Per the Portland Press Herald:
Since Maine voted to legalize marijuana last month, nearly two dozen towns have discussed or implemented moratoriums to stop any marijuana-related businesses from setting up shop and to give themselves time to develop local regulations. And at least three towns are considering becoming “dry towns” that won’t allow retail marijuana facilities.
“Right now, this is the hottest topic we have,” says Eric Conrad, spokesman for the Maine Municipal Association, which has fielded questions about marijuana from nearly 40 municipal officials.
Local bans on marijuana businesses don’t just hurt entrepreneurs and marijuana consumers, it also hurts the greater areas that the bans are located in. Marijuana businesses, like any other business, boost local economies by providing jobs, which in many areas are desperately needed. Marijuana sales generate tax revenue that benefit all members of society. The fight to legalize marijuana doesn’t stop on election day when voters approve an initiative. The battle just moves to a different arena, which is the case in Maine. Maine residents need to get in touch with their local elected officials early and often.