Maine’s legislature will consider a bill proposed by Speaker Rachel Talbot Ross (D-Portland) that would help former convicts and “disinvested” individuals start cannabis businesses.
The bill would “encourage eligible individuals to apply for registration under the Maine Medical Use of Cannabis Act or for licensure under the Cannabis Legalization Act and to provide related direct support services to those individuals,” said Speaker Talbot Ross’.
Talbot Ross’ LD 1517, An Act to Create Equity in the State’s Cannabis Industry specifically seeks to aid criminals in the name of equity, applying to anyone, with few exceptions, who was incarcerated for Marijuana related crimes, whether in Maine or elsewhere.
The bill would also give aid to anyone who is a member of a “historically disinvested community,” without defining what constitutes a “historically disinvested community.”
“The applicant is a member of a historically disinvested community, as determined based on criteria established by the authority,” said Talbot Ross’ bill.
The bill does not specify who “the authority” is.
Finally, the bill would apply to anyone with four years of experience in Maine’s medical cannabis industry who made under $300,000 in the previous calendar year.
The aid would come via a new Cannabis Business Equity Fund, which would appropriate $2,000,000.
Talbot Ross’ bill is a carry-over from the last session of Maine’s legislature and will be considered alongside other carry-over bills when the legislature reconvenes in January.
LD 1517 will be considered alongside Sen. Joe Baldacci’s (D-Penobscot) bill which would entirely remove marijuana from Maine’s criminal code.
Talbot Ross’ bill, aiding former criminals in establishing cannabis businesses, comes as Maine struggles to clamp down on the hundreds of Illegal Chinese cannabis grows discovered throughout the state.