As Maine lawmakers prepare regulations for the incoming recreational cannabis industry they have ruffled some advocates feathers by changing the bill that was voted on and passed with the referendum. The social club issue has gone through many stages from being delayed until all cannabis licenses were issued, to being delayed for several years, but ultimately the only compromise the Republican caucus were willing to work with was removing any idea of social clubs from the bill. Lawmakers turn to other states in times of progression and so far no state has allowed social club licenses, and Maine will not likely become the first. Advocates are concerned that visitors and tourists will be without a legal place to consume their cannabis and there the issue will remain for now.
Current law bans public cultivation or consumption, which doesn’t give the 36 million people who visit Maine each year a place to use any cannabis that they might buy when here, because most hotels ban smoking inside rooms.
“No other state has licensed social clubs,” said Sen. Roger Katz, R-Augusta, co-chairman of the implementation committee. “This is clearly the law, but it passed by the narrowest of margins. We ought to go slow and be conservative.”