Sarah Climaco

Maine Gov. Paul LePage has agreed to delay the implementation of new medical cannabis rules that were set to take effect Feb.1, which included allowing unannounced caregiver inspections by the Department Health and Human Services, the Portland Press Herald reports. The new regime is on hold until at least May so the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee can have time to adopt a new plan.

“While I believe strongly that the medical marijuana program needs improved and increased regulation, waiting until May to ensure we do not create unnecessary confusion and complication is a reasonable approach,” LePage, in a letter to Rep. Deborah Sanderson, via the Press Herald.

Sanderson, who had made the request to delay the new rules, told the Press Herald that it was not an attempt “to avoid more regulation” but an attempt to do so “in a thorough, thoughtful way.”

Sanderson and LePage agree that parts of the medical cannabis program, including regulatory control, oversight, compliance, licensing, packaging, labeling, and testing, can be consolidated with the state’s voter-approved recreational cannabis program. In his letter, LePage said that having two programs overseen by different agencies “will undermine” both programs.

Last month, the state’s Marijuana Legalization Implementation Committee voted 5-1 to delay social cannabis use allowances until 2023. A Legislative vote on the proposal could come this month.

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