A bill that would require the Maine Department of Agriculture to test cannabis before it is sold to adults passed the House of Representatives 101-32, according to a Press Herald report. The vote follows a 17-0 vote by the special committee convened to hash out the state’s adult-use cannabis industry regulations.
The measure faces further votes in both the House and Senate and could be challenged by Gov. Paul LePage, who would rather put cannabis regulations in the hands of the Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations officials over the Agriculture Department, as required by the ballot measure approved by voters last November.
Opponents of the testing measure argued that the Department of Agriculture, which provides testing for dairy products and produce in the state, does not have the resources to also test cannabis. The fiscal note on the bill estimates cannabis testing would cost the state about $175,000 annually, but those costs would be covered by the taxes on recreational cannabis sales.
Portions of the voter-backed law have already taken effect, allowing adults 21-and-older to possess up to 2.5 ounces of flower and cultivate up to six plants. Lawmakers are still setting up commercial market regulations.
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