The voters of Maine have spoken, and they have chosen to legalize cannabis use for adults over the age of 21 in our state.
Maine voters said Yes to creating five new types of marijuana business license in our state: cultivation, processing (such as to make edible or topical products), testing laboratories, retail outlets, and social use clubs.
They said Yes to creating hundreds of new Maine-owned businesses and thousands of new jobs for Mainers in this emerging industry, even as traditional manufacturing jobs vanish from our state. They said Yes to allowing our current medical cannabis program to operate alongside our newly legal adult-use program.
Now, the real work begins. And it will require reinforcing existing connections with those who opposed Question 1, and forging new connections with them.
We all agree that children should not be able to access or use cannabis, and so the regulatory system we put into place in the coming months should sensibly prioritize packaging and labeling standards.
We all agree that cannabis products for both medical and adult users should be lab-tested, because every Maine citizen will benefit from understanding product potency, and every marijuana consumer should know that their products are free of pesticides, mold and other contaminants.
We all agree that there should be more research into the individual health impacts and the social implications of whole-plant cannabis use.
We all agree that the smart path forward is to provide more education for the general public about how to responsibly incorporate this newly-legal plant into our lives, and especially our conversations with kids.
The task before each of us now is to set aside our differences and work together to ensure that this bill is implemented in a way that protects our youth, creates successful public health education campaigns, and improves provider accountability and enforceable regulation across our adult-use and medical marijuana programs.
In accomplishing these tasks, we can look to the states which have legalized adult use of marijuana before us.
But more importantly, we can and should look to, and truly communicate with, one another.