Lawmakers hopeful bill regulating Maine marijuana sales will finally pass

Smoking Marijuana (WGME)

AUGUSTA (WGME) -- State lawmakers are hopeful their bill regulating marijuana sales in Maine will finally pass.

A 17-member committee made up of state Democrats and Republicans has been working on changes to the recreational pot bill for the past few months.

Mainers voted to legalize marijuana in November of 2016.

Since then, lawmakers have been crafting legislation to put rules into place.

Governor Paul LePage vetoed the first bill last year, and state lawmakers went back to the drawing board.

Now, they've come up with what they believe is a bill that will work.

The biggest tweaks include eliminating social clubs, moving the medical pot program from the Department of Health and Human Services to the Department of Administrative and Financial Services and decreasing the number of plants individuals can possess from six to three.

“I think we're really going to get it done this time. We've listened very carefully to the objections of the people who voted against this bill. We've done our best to try to take into account their objections and make a few tweaks to the bill without about changing its major character,” Sen. Roger Katz (R), Augusta, said.

"We want to certainly offer that privilege of using it to Maine people. We also want to keep our community and our kids safe. So not only will people be able to use this, but we're setting up a fund to help with prevention for kids, and then we'll also doing a law enforcement fund to help with training in terms of impaired driving and such,” Rep. Teresa Pierce (D), Falmouth, said.

Representative Pierce says if the bill is passed, local governments will still be able to control recreational marijuana retail, growing facilities, and other aspects of pot in their communities.

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