Is the Department of Agriculture ready for legal marijuana?

CBS 13 is on your side answering your questions about Maine’s new marijuana law. (WGME)

PORTLAND (WGME) -- Under Question 1, licensing and regulation of marijuana falls to the Department of Agriculture.

So is the department ready for this massive undertaking?

No one from the Department of Agriculture would speak to us for this story, but they did release a statement.

"The administration is carefully reviewing the legislation passed by Maine voters and determining appropriate next steps."

But we already know how the Department of Agriculture commissioner feels about this.

Walt Whitcomb wrote an opinion piece in the Bangor Daily News.

"The referendum necessitates the remake of the department based on the gold rush illusion of a get-rich-quick scheme, but it comes at the expense of human and natural resources."

The new law would require the department do things it's not already doing, including setting all of the rules regulating legal marijuana as well as handle distribution of six different licenses outlined in the legislation.

This is different from what we've seen in other states.

In Oregon, marijuana is licensed and regulated under the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. In Colorado, it's the Department of Revenue.

So, why the Department of Agricutlure? We asked Yes on 1 campaign manager David Boyer.

“We thought the department of agriculture made sense given that marijuana is a plant it is grown, people cultivate it... it makes sense in that regard. But we're open to different agencies taking different parts of implementation and regulating marijuana,” Boyer said.

Governor LePage said in a radio interview after the election the Department of Agriculture has "no capacity" to do what the law would require.

He said the legislature could assign the responsibility instead to Maine's Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages & Lottery Operations, which Boyer said the campaign would be open to.

After the act becomes law the department has 9 months to put the news rules in place.

The Yes on 1 campaign expects to see marijuana for legal sale in retail stores by January 2018.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off