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Maine Might Legalize Drive-Through and Internet Cannabis Sales

Where the winters are very long, the law might allow for the legal purchase of marijuana without leaving home, or at least your car.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Maine, one of a handful of states that have approved adult-use marijuana, is set to make buying cannabis that much easier for consumers.

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A legislative bill under consideration allows for creation of drive-through dispensaries in the Granite State. Much like buying beer or a burger and fries, customers could simply pull up to a window and conduct their cannabis business on the go.

The bill allows for marijuana purchase over the Internet, too. The product would be delivered directly to a person’s home. It’s a convenient idea for consumers. It’s a controversial idea among state politicians.

Related: Some Universities Offer Classes On Marijuana. LSU Plans to Grow It.

Slow and cautious.

Proponents of the measure argue marijuana should be treated no different than alcohol. They question why the state wouldn’t want to make cannabis purchase as easy as buying a bottle of wine. Maine and Massachusetts are the only two states east of the Mississippi to allow adult-use sales.

Maine voters legalized recreational marijuana in November 2016 However, the vote was extremely close. It required a recount to reach a final tally. Ultimately, 50.26 percent of Maine voters approved legalization – less than 4,000 of the total votes cast.

The proposal for drive-throughs and home delivery is part of an ongoing debate among state officials to create a regulated system for marijuana. The goal is to begin sales in 2018. It’s a process that has tripped up many state officials. It has taken since 2012, for example, for Maryland to create a regulated system for medical marijuana.

State Sen. Roger Katz, a Republican who co-chairs the marijuana committee in which the proposal will be debated, pointed out the close Maine vote in comments to the Portland Press Herald. Katz opposes both drive-throughs and home delivery.

“Given the fact that about half the people in the state voted against legalization, I think we ought to go slow and be cautious in the beginning,” he said.

Katz also said the changes could bring federal attention on Maine. Internet sales, for example, could make it easier to transport marijuana across state lines, he said. Marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

Certainly, there are causes for concern. Attorney General Jeff Sessions once again argued against marijuana legalization in comments this month, saying “I’ve never felt that we should legalize marijuana.”

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told the Heritage Foundation that the Justice Department is still considering rolling back changes made during the Obama Administration that essentially keep the federal government from interfering where states have legalized marijuana.

Related: 10 Ways the Cannabis Industry Is Rebranding to Meet Its Biggest Challenges

Rocky Mountain Convenience

Colorado, which has led in all things surrounding legal marijuana, also opened the first drive-through cannabis store earlier this year.

Located in Parachute, a small town west of the Rocky Mountains, the Tumbleweed Express Drive-Thru opened on April 20 (to acknowledge 420 day, naturally). The store provides some indication of how drive-throughs could work in Maine and everywhere else.

Customers actually drive their vehicles into a building, sort of like an oil-change service. A door closes behind them, completely enclosing the vehicle inside the building while business is conducted.

That set-up keeps Tumbleweed Express within the parameters of state law, which calls for not allowing marijuana to be visible to anyone outside of the store. Tumbleweed also must provide security, surveillance at the point of sale and also ensure that everyone in the vehicle is over 21.

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