Cannabis industry clients in Maine spent more than $140,000 in lobbying fees between Dec. 1 and Mar. 31 in their efforts to influence how the voter-approved adult-use cannabis industry will be regulated in the state according to a Portland Press Herald report. So far, lawmakers have only taken up a handful of the 50 bills circulating the legislature related to the industry.
Leading the pack are Maine Professionals for Regulating Marijuana, who have, so far, spent $54,338 on lobbying, according to expenditure reports filed with the Maine Ethics Commission. Remedy Compassion, the next highest spender, spent $24,000; Wellness Connection of Main spent $23,250; Legalize Maine dropped $15,000; and Crockett and Crockett LLC rounded out the top five with $12,000.
Paul McCarrier, a Legalize Maine lobbyist who worked on last year’s legalization campaign, called it “interesting” that some of the groups now lobbying for regulation “had no interest” in the ballot initiative last November. He said that some groups are spending money in an effort to “stifle the competition and keep the little guy out.”
“When you have one business employing 100 people, there’s no competition,” McCarrier said in the report. “When you have three businesses employing 33 people each, you have a lot more competition.”
Patricia Rosi, CEO of Wellness Connection, said she’s spending money on lobbying because her organization feels “a responsibility to the thousands of people” they serve daily.
“Yes, we are here every week and lobbying is a priority because our voices must be heard,” Rosi said. “All of us dispensaries have a vested interest in participating.”