A Cannabis Gift Economy Grows in Maine as Recreational Sales Face Further Delays – News

Last year, lawmakers enacted a moratorium on retail sales in order to have time to create a system to tax, license, and regulate the retail pot market.

The delays in establishing a proper retail market leaves Maine in a legal grey area where there is great demand for recreational cannabis, but no approved way to access it. Many residents are still purchasing pot on the black market, but over the past year, a few brave entrepreneurs have kickstarted new companies that arePortland-based Greenlyght has a different spin on gifting, delivering a quarter-ounce of weed to any adult for free, but with a $90 delivery charge. “We legalized marijuana in Maine, said it’s OK to smoke, but it’s been a year now and we still don’t have any stores selling recreational marijuana,” Greenlyght founder Bret Jackson

The voter-approved Marijuana Legalization Act allows adults to give up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis to another adult for free, and these new operators are using the rule as a loophole to legitimize their gifting businesses. State legislators argue that these businesses are completely illegal as customers still end up paying full price for their “free” weed. State police have been loath to crack down on them; in fact, many local cops don’t even know that gifting is happening in the state, If LePage succeeds in delaying retail sales until 2019 or beyond, Maine might see its gifting economy grow to rival those of Washington, D.C or Massachusetts. The legal weed market in the nation’s capital also exists in a grey area where marijuana possession is legal, but sales are prohibited. Cops have already arrested over 30 people for illegally gifting weed at cannabis events this year, and city officials have revoked the business and alcohol licenses of venues which have hosted these events. It remains to be seen whether Maine’s grey market will grow large enough to warrant police intervention before legislators finally allow fully-licensed retail sales to begin.

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