Although cannabis receipts have steadily increased since adult-use sales began in the state last October, only 47 of Maine’s 500 towns and cities permit any adult-use cannabis activity. These communities comprise just 29% of the state’s population, MPR reports.
Curiously, some communities, like Etna, have banned retail stores but permit cultivation operations. Bradford, Corinna, Corinth, Dixmont, Glenburn, and Millinocket have all passed ordinances outlawing retail stores. Dover-Foxcroft passed a ban in 2017 but has a non-binding question on the November ballot asking citizens if adult-use cannabis is right for the largest city in Maine’s most conservative county, Piscataquis, according to the report.
“The measure on the ballot is to see if people want the activity at all,” said Selectboard Member Stephen Grammont. “The weird thing about Maine is that it’s conservative but also libertarian.” He told MPR that the referendum is not binding but if it passes but the city will be “obligated” to follow the outcome.
Other Maine towns like Stacyville, which has a population of just 380, have embraced adult-use cannabis for its economic impact, Stacyville Selectboard member Alvin Theriault said in the report.
“We don’t have any industry here. We don’t have anything. So why not?” — Theriault, via MPR
The industry’s slow rollout could be due to a fear of change, or because cities and towns do not see much in it for themselves. After all, cannabis tax revenues go to the state, according to Joel Pepin, President of the Maine Cannabis Industry Association.
“It takes time for stigma to change, and it takes time for operators to jump in and participate in the market,” Pepin said in the report. “But I mean, the market’s been launched now for a year and it seems to have already made a tremendous amount of progress.”
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