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Coronavirus concerns delay recreational marijuana sales in Maine

Robert F. Bukaty/Associated Press

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine officials decided Friday to delay the rollout of legalized marijuana in the state due to concerns about the spread of coronavirus.

Voters in Maine chose to legalize marijuana for recreational adult use in 2016, and the Maine Office of Marijuana Policy hoped to debut retail sales this spring. The office's director, Erik Gundersen, said Friday that a spring launch is “simply unrealistic.”

One reason for the postponement is communities have had to delay authorization to opt-in to allowing local marijuana businesses, Gundersen said. The office said a new timetable for the launch of legal marijuana won’t be available until after public health experts have provided guidance about when it would be safe.