Maine’s Cannabis Legalization Timeline Goes up in Smoke

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine marijuana lovers hoping to put the “bake” back in clambake this summer might be out of luck.

State officials said Friday that Maine rescinded a Los Angeles consultant’s winning bid to help craft the rules about key issues such as sales and packaging of marijuana.

Maine officials had hoped the rules would be ready by April. That could have meant marijuana would be in stores in time for Vacationland’s busy summer tourism season, which is typically more about lobster pots than smoking pot.

It’s another setback for the implementation of legalized pot in a state where voters decided to go legal in 2016. Officials declined to speculate how long it could be before legal marijuana does arrive in stores.

“It’s time to get it up and going. And protect public safety,” said Rep. Teresa Pierce, a Falmouth Democrat and a member of the state Marijuana Advisory Commission. “I think people are ready.”

The withdrawal of the $200,000 bid award to BOTEC of Los Angeles comes after another bidder, Freedman Koski of Colorado, appealed the award. State officials said the contract will go out to bid again as soon as Monday.

BOTEC did not return a call from The Associated Press seeking comment. Andrew Freedman, co-founder of the firm that appealed, said the firm will “give serious thought to submitting a new bid.” The state Legislature would eventually need to vote on rules proposed by the consultant who eventually gets the winning bid.

The process is playing out amid a transition in power in the state. Democratic Gov. Janet Mills has succeeded former Republican Gov. Paul LePage, who was adamantly against legalizing marijuana.

Mills’ administration feels the bid award to BOTEC, which took place during LePage’s administration, would not have withstood the appeals

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