What is the Corporate Takeover?
The No On One Campaign virtuously campaigned against the idea of a “corporate takeover” up until votes on the issue were cast in November of 2016. They insisted that the language of the bill had been designed in the favor of large corporations and out-of-state finance. Were they wrong? Actually, no. Shortly after lawmakers began the committee on recreational cannabis regulation, lobbyists and representatives of cannabis business statewide began approaching the committee with proposals about how to regulate the industry of cannabis. While speculations can be made about the intentions of these corporate representatives and lobbyists, one thing is true: their presence in the committee is necessary because many legislators, while well versed in legislation, know little or nothing about the minute details of the cannabis industry. This creates an opportunity for both benevolent and malevolent forces to manipulate the course of the decision making process. A corporate takeover is when large, well financed cannabis corporations succeed in lobbying for regulations that favor them: for instance, refer to my previous article about escrow requirements for license application. By manipulating the process in their favor, they can effectively squash out the little guy, and secure a much larger portion of the pie for themselves. The Legalize Maine campaign is working tirelessly to make the correct decisions, to provide equal access to cannabis professionals statewide; however, they need the help of Maine’s cannabis community. Professionals statewide- particularly the small business owners- need to make their voices heard in the capitol in order to avoid the misdirection of the political process.
Probably one of the most important parts of this bill is the fact that it allows for every resident above the age of 21 to grow their own cannabis. It should be stressed that this might be the most revolutionary part of the whole process. After all, it’s currently legal for all of us to grow our own food or brew our own beer, or even to grow our own tobacco if we so choose. And yet, none of us do! We perpetually continue to purchase food from large mono-agricultural outfits, and purchase our cigarettes from Philip-Morris. Fortunately, here in Maine, we have a great habit of purchasing our beer from some of the most amazing local microbreweries in the whole world, but that is still second best to brewing one’s own. Basically, even though it will soon be legal for us all to purchase high-quality recreational cannabis from some of our favorite producers, even they will tell you- nothing beats smoking cannabis you grew yourself.
In fact, this is still the most revolutionary aspect of cannabis from a medicinal level as well. This is a plant that you can easily grow in your backyard that will treat dozens of ailments that you probably experience on a daily basis. This is why it’s so radically important that we all familiarize ourselves with the legality surrounding growing your own cannabis- especially if you have even the slightest interest in growing your own. Self-sustainability and independence are the keys to revolution, in cannabis or otherwise.
The details on home-growing are as follows: you cannot sell your home-grown cannabis for money, legally. You also cannot legally trade your cannabis for any compensation of value. However, you may absolutely gift your cannabis to others and share it as you please. You must, of course, be twenty-one years of age to possess any cannabis whatsoever, and to give cannabis to any person under this age is explicitly illegal. Furthermore, you are limited to carrying 2.5 ounces at a time… but that should be enough for a good sesh right?
One point of contention is the number of plants and seedlings that a person may cultivate at home. The number of plants allowed to a person is subject to change, so pay attention! However, the most current language states that a person may have up to six flowering plants (which can yield a pretty hefty harvest if you’re doing it right), 12 plants in the vegetative stage of growth, and unlimited seedlings. Fortunately for all of us, that leaves a whole lot of wiggle room! Under such legislation, there’s no reason any cannabis enthusiast couldn’t supply themselves with high-quality smoke year ‘round, simply as a hobbyist. Furthermore, the law states that residents growing for personal use may store any and all cannabis produced by six flowering plants at their residence. Don’t go thinking there aren’t any rules for home cultivation, either: your grow must be well hidden from view to prevent theft, and the legislature currently states it must be hidden from view even with binoculars. Furthermore, every plant must be tagged and labeled, in accordance with regulations that medical cannabis caregivers must currently abide.
Things seem to look pretty good as far as Maine’s small artisan growers’ industry is concerned. Overall, it appears that the legislative process has rejected suggestions from the “corporate takeover” and are accepting ideas that support the little guy. However, as stated earlier, these stipulations are subject to rapid change, which is why all of us should be paying strict attention to what’s happening. But more importantly, simply grow your own cannabis! The best way to create a rich artisan cannabis community is to foster appreciation for the plant; and how better to do that than to take care of it yourself?