Lots of work to do before Maine marijuana smokers can light up

Portland Press Herald

Preti Flaherty attorney Dan Walker discusses the challenges surrounding marijuana legalization in the wake of Mainer's voting for legalization, chiefly where regulation and control of the industry should be housed.

An Excerpt:

LePage has suggested a more logical home could be the Maine Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations, or BABLO, which licenses alcohol sellers and regulates the liquor market.

“It’s going to be $5 (million) or $6 million” to house the program in the agriculture department, LePage said. “Or they can send it over to BABLO and maybe we can get away with maybe just hiring more people because the infrastructure is already there.”

Dan Walker, an attorney who represents the state’s largest medical marijuana dispensary operator, Wellness Connection, pointed out that BABLO is housed within the same state agency that includes Maine Revenue Services. That agency will be responsible for collecting a sales tax on retail marijuana sales.

“We do believe a better place to regulate this is where liquor is regulated,” said Walker, who has been involved in medical marijuana policy for years. “They’ve got all of the tools right there.”