Marijuana tourism



Bar Harbor officials are wise to have the town attorney draft an order for a moratorium on new commercial marijuana-related businesses while the state continues to sort out actual policies and laws to regulate the industry. The state has nine months to come up with its rules and policies. Towns and cities are left to figure theirs out on their own.

Most Mainer’s understand that the legalization of marijuana allows for an individual to possess limited quantities and to grow a fixed number of plants for personal consumption. And even with legalization, no one is allowed to smoke pot in a public place.

The citizens of Bar Harbor need to have a long and detailed conversation about what level of marijuana-related commercial activity, if any, is warranted.

Of particular concern is whether or not Bar Harbor wants to get a reputation as the place to go in Maine for “THC tourism.”

How long would it be before the “social clubs” mentioned in the voter-approved law spring up offering instant membership deals for tourists here for only a few days? What about demand from cruise ship passengers?

Unlike alcohol, there are no firm, testable standards to determine whether someone is under drug influence. How will impaired drivers be charged?

State regulations require social club patrons to consume marijuana “on premises.” Will that result in a new wave of inebriated passengers stumbling back to make the ship before departure?

But beyond that rollback of criminal penalties, we wager few residents desire to see the local consumption of weed become a seasonal attraction. The Bar Harbor Town Council should adopt the moratorium. And the long-term ramifications should be in mind as they decide whether, and how, to give the “green” light to marijuana tourism.

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