Maine’s legislative Health and Human Services Committee has approved a cannabis caregiver regulation bill that would require potency testing and labeling but does not include provisions backed by the state Office of Marijuana Policy’s that included a ban on small extraction labs, federal background check requirements, and a limit on plant sizes, the Portland Press Herald reports.
Dawson Julia, a medical dispensary operator, said the testing requirement would drive up prices for small-scale caregivers, many of which sell less than $500 worth of cannabis a week. Under the current regime, plants grown by caregivers only need to be tested when they make an advertising claim, such as THC amounts or being pesticide-free.
“This is standard procedure from the corporate scum that continually use our government as a weapon to destroy the small competition. Maine will become just another feeding ground for the blood-sucking vampires of corporate cannabis.” – Julia to the Press Herald
The measure also includes a proposed fine schedule for caregivers who willfully flout regulations, but they did cut the fines in half from what they were in the original version of the bill.
Maine has about 2,600 medical cannabis caregivers who sold 76.5 percent – or about $85.3 million – of all cannabis sold in the state last year. The reform bill still needs approval from the Legislature.
Maine voters approved cannabis legalization in 2016 but regulations had been vetoed twice by then-Gov. Paul LePage (R) until it was overridden by the legislature. In October, officials anticipated recreational sales would begin this month but last week pushed that prediction to June.