Behind the leaves of an indoor cannabis plant in a commercial grow room.

Sarah Climaco

Medical cannabis dispensaries and caregivers in Maine are pushing state lawmakers to allow them to open up recreational sales before those sales are set to begin next year, as was the case in both Colorado and Oregon, the Portland Press Herald reports. Supporters say allowing early sales to recreational customers could help cover the costs of devising the rules of the forthcoming adult-use market.

Paul McCarrier, president of Legalize Maine, wants to ensure that both dispensaries and caregivers would be able to sell products to anyone over the age of 21 while the state develops the rules and regulations for the voter-approved recreational-use regime. According to the report, in Maine there are just eight dispensaries permitted to cultivate and sell medical cannabis in the state, while there are about 3,200 individual caregivers who can grow for, and sell to, up to five qualifying patients.

“It has to be an equal playing field,” he said in the report.

Two bills have been introduced in the state’s legislature that would allow dispensaries to begin recreational sales early, but neither allows caregivers to sell to adults. The “Act to Clarify Certain Provisions of the Marijuana Legalization Act and To Deter the Use of Marijuana by Minors” (LD.1448) was introduced by Republican Matthew Harrington as emergency legislation, while LD.1491, “An Act to Provide for Safety, Quality and Transparency in the Retail Marijuana Industry” was introduced by Republican Sen. Roger Katz. Both bills have been sent to the Legislature’s Marijuana Legalization Implementation Committee, which Katz chairs.

A third bill (LD.1499) would allow “provisional” licenses for medical cannabis dispensaries to sell cannabis to adults while the state develops regulations. That bill, sponsored by Democratic Sen. Troy Jackson, has also been sent to the Marijuana Legalization Implementation Committee.

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