Maine Official Condemns Influx in Illegal Cannabis Activity

High Times

The top cannabis official in Maine sounded the alarm this week on illicit conduct tied to the state’s medical marijuana industry and illegal cannabis. Erik Gundersen, director of the Maine Office of Marijuana Policy, made the comments to the Maine Legislature’s Marijuana Advisory Commission, which held a meeting on Tuesday. The Bangor Daily News reported that Gundersen told the commission that “he believes there’s more illegal activity connected to the state’s medical marijuana industry and that his office has few tools to prevent medical cannabis from finding its way to the black market,” saying his office has 12 field investigators who are far from “sufficient for performing the necessary level of oversight when the investigators are only getting to registrants every four to five years.” Gundersen noted that “the vast majority of caregivers in the medical marijuana industry are following the rules,” but that illegal activity nevertheless persists. “It’s an economics thing. You can do quick, back-of-the-napkin math,” Gundersen said, as quoted by the Bangor Daily News. “I would imagine it’s easy to veer into the more gray area.” Recreational and medical marijuana are both legal in Maine. It was reported that Gundersen told the legislative commission that his “office has fewer ways to regulate the medical use market than the recreational market for which retail sales started just last year.” Voters in Maine legalized medical cannabis all the way back in 1999, and they did the same for recreational marijuana in 2016—although that law’s rollout was stymied by opposition from former Maine Gov. Paul LePage, who was staunchly opposed to legalization. LePage vetoed legislation in 2017 that would have implemented the voter-approved law, but lawmakers in the state overturned his veto the following year. In 2018, Maine voters elected a different governor, the Democrat Janet Mills, who moved quickly…

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