Marijuana legalization may have passed in Maine, but some towns and cities are putting on the brakes, and blocking retailers from setting up shop.
From Bangor to Portland, municipalities have enacted moratoriums on marijuana sales to determine zoning rules for retailers.
“We need to make sure we get it as right as we can for our community,” said South Portland Mayor Patti Smith. South Portland has enacted a six-month moratorium.
Other municipalities have gone further. Oakland and Skowhegan leaders have announced plans to possibly become a “dry town” and completely ban marijuana sales.
“Marijuana is still going to be sold in Maine – it’s still going to be sold in Skowhegan,” said David Boyer, campaign manager for Yes on 1, to legalize recreational marijuana. “We have a choice… do we want marijuana sold by licensed businesses, or by drug dealers that don’t check ID?”
Boyer’s campaign estimates Maine could receive $15 million in revenue from the marijuana industry: money that could go to substance abuse prevention, education, or infrastructure, among other programs.
Boyer said that money has not been earmarked yet, and it leaves the door open for Maine towns to ban marijuana retail shops, while benefiting from the tax revenue.
“Some might say that’s not fair,” he said.
According to the No on 1 campaign manager, Scott Gagnon, at least 18 municipalities have enacted moratoriums, and 28 more are considering similar temporary bans.