The lawmakers in the state of Maine are considering approving a proposal that provides a cloak of secrecy about the imminent adult-use marijuana sector.
The legislation L.D. 2091, which was written by the legislators within the state of Maine, would exclude trade secrets, security, and operating protocols provided to the state by marijuana businesses from public records law.
The state of Maine claims that the proposal would enclose in protections for cannabis business proprietary information, such as recipes for marijuana edibles.
The spokesperson for the Office of Marijuana Policy in Maine, which drafted the legislation L.D.2091, David Heidrich said that it would be the responsibility of the legislature to determine if the benefits of an exclusion outpace the need for public review.
Speaking to Portland Press Herald, Heidrich said that the Office of Marijuana Policy believes that the proposal outweighs the inability of public review.
The legislation aims to modify the Freedom of Access Act to remove application materials provided to the Office of Marijuana Policy relating to trade secrets, security, and standard operating protocols from the definition of ‘public record.’
Public records advocates and journalists have openly criticized the bill. The association that represents all the state’s daily papers within the state, The Maine Press Association, is also opposing the bill. A lawyer in the state of Maine, Matt Warner, said that the Freedom of Access Act has been acting as a weapon between competitors in the state’s legal marijuana marketplace. Warner said that the Freedom of Access Act is an essential fundamental public right.
Voters approved the legalization of adult-use marijuana within the state in 2016. Marijuana businesses are expected to launch and start serving customers in the spring of 2020.
The state started accepting permit applications for recreational marijuana sales as well as license applications for growing and manufacturing cannabis in December 2019. Recreational marijuana was approved by voters back in 2016, and the delay in launching adult-use marijuana law on cultivation, manufacturing, and sales has been due to the legislation blockage imposed by the state’s Governor Paul LePage.
The governor opposed the bill in 2017, hence the law couldn’t be passed.
In his veto letter, the governor said that the dangers of legalizing cannabis and normalizing its consumption in the society should not be understated. He further noted that the state is dealing with a severe drug epidemic that causes the death of more than one person a day through opiate overdoses. LePage also said that legalizing marijuana would be telling the young adults in the state that some drugs are legal within Maine, and this could result in unintended and grave consequences.
The election of a new governor, Janet Mills, helped speed up marijuana reform by signing legislation that established regulations governing the sale of adult-use marijuana in June of 2018.
It remains to be seen what pot companies like Lexaria Bioscience Corp. (CSE: LXX) (OTCQX: LXRP) think about this move to exclude sensitive proprietary marijuana business information from the ambit of the Freedom of Access Act in Maine.
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