Maine gives potential marijuana consultants an extra week

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Consultants hoping to advise Maine on recreational marijuana sales have extra time to apply.

The deadline is Thursday for those applying to guide state agencies as they craft adult-use marijuana regulations and review Maine’s medical marijuana program.

Mainers in 2016 voted to allow adult-use possession and retail sales of marijuana.

Adults over 21 can possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana. But lawmakers delayed sales, which won’t become legal until agencies pass regulations and get legislative approval.

Maine must start accepting recreational marijuana applications 30 days after regulations are adopted.

Department of Administrative and Financial Services spokesman David Heidrich recently said rulemaking will begin once a consultant is hired.

Heidrich estimates a contract will be signed in December and start January.

Then, the department would complete regulations by April 30.


King returns oil company contribution following challenge

BRUNSWICK, Maine (AP) — Independent U.S. Sen. Angus King has returned a donation from Exxon Mobil after his Democratic challenger pressed him on the gas corporation’s contribution during a debate.

Maine Public Radio reports candidate Zak Ringelstein asked King if he would distance himself from the fossil fuel industry and return the $5,000 donation during a Senate debate Tuesday. The question came as Ringelstein explained his support for a plan to convert to 100 percent renewable energy by 2035.

King agreed to give the donation back, but said Ringelstein’s question was misleading. He added that he discloses all his contributions and didn’t know about the Exxon Mobil donation.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, King has received over $124,000 from natural resource groups. Most of the money has flowed from renewable energy groups.


Maine turkeys thankful early as fall hunt comes to close

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine’s wild turkeys need to survive just a few more days to make it free and clear to Thanksgiving.

The state’s fall turkey hunt ends on Wednesday. The birds were once nearly gone in Maine, but conservation efforts brought them back to the point that some Mainers consider them pests and traffic hazards.

The fall season is open in most of the state except far northern Maine. Hunters are limited to one or two birds of either sex depending on what part of the state they are hunting in.

The rest of the state’s major fall hunting seasons are still going on. Those are the seasons for deer, moose and bears.


NSF invests in major genetic project at Maine ocean lab

EAST BOOTHBAY, Maine (AP) — The National Science Foundation is providing $6 million to a Maine ocean science lab to help develop new genetic research technologies.

The money is going to Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, which says the new effort will launch next week with a goal of unlocking the genomic data of microscopic organisms that play a role in the world’s climate.

The principal investigator in the project is Bigelow’s Ramunas Stepanauskas, who is the director of the Single Cell Genomics Center at the lab. He says the effort will focus on connecting a recent “explosion of genomics data” to what’s happening in today’s environment.

Bigelow researchers will be working with co-investigators from the University of New Hampshire and Nevada-based Desert Research Institute.


New England farms could see new climate adaptation tools

ORONO, Maine (AP) — Researchers in New England are working on a project to develop tools for small- and mid-sized farms in the region to address productivity problems related to climate change.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has granted nearly $500,000 over three years to the University of Vermont for the project, and more than $200,000 will go to University of Maine researchers. UMaine officials say the project will seek to help farmers with issues that have a link to a changing climate, such as changes in the growing season, drought risks and new pests.

UMaine says its research team will focus on the importance of developing climate adaptation tools. The university says most farmers in New England own small to medium operations, and many have been farming for less than a decade.


University launches North Atlantic center to grow economy

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A public university in Maine is launching a new institute to try to create new partnerships between the state and countries in the North Atlantic.

The University of Southern Maine unveiled the plans for the Maine North Atlantic Institute on Nov. 1. The university says professors and researchers have been working on the initiative for three years, some in places such as Iceland, Norway and Scotland.

The school describes the institute as an “economic and educational collaboration” that will bring together businesses, learning institutions and others to “provide the tools to support the growth of Maine’s economy.”

USM says the institute will help businesses in Maine reach the North Atlantic market. The effort will touch on subjects such as rural health, marine innovation and regulatory challenges.


Rule change for shuttered shrimp fishery could be coming

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Fishery managers are seeking feedback on potential changes to New England’s long-shuttered shrimp fishery if it ever reopens.

Shrimp fishing has been shut down off Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire since 2013. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is considering changes to the way it allocates quota in the fishery.

The commission’s holding public hearings in Augusta, Maine, on Monday and Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on Tuesday. Written comments are due by close of business on Wednesday.

An arm of the commission will also meet on Nov. 15 and 16 to decide if the fishery will remain closed for another year. A recent scientific assessment of the shrimp population says they remain in poor condition, in part because of the warming of the Gulf of Maine.


Maine, Michigan team looks to root weeds out of organic ag

ORONO, Maine (AP) — Scientists from universities in Maine and Michigan are getting a boost from the federal government in researching weed management on organic farms.

Organic farms use a more limited scope of weed management tools than conventional farms, and the weeds are a threat to crops and profitability. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is providing more than $1.9 million for the scientists to research weed controls on organic vegetable operations.

University of Maine weed ecology and management professor Eric Gallandt and Michigan State University sustainable vegetable production professor Dan Brainard are leading the work.

Gallandt is proposing a “cultural weed management” method that focuses on depleting the reserve of weed seeds in soil and using cultivation tools that reduce the weed populations over time.


Maine regulators to decide by March on key powerline permit

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine utility regulators are delaying until March their decision on whether to grant Central Maine Power a key permit needed to build a 145-mile transmission corridor that would carry electricity from Quebec to southern New England.

In a Friday ruling, the Maine Public Utilities Commission said that it expects to extend the time for research, testimony and hearings into January, with a date of March 1 to wrap up the information-gathering aspect of the permit process.

The commission is considering whether to award a certificate of public conveyance and necessity to CMP, a necessary component of the utility’s plan to deliver hydropower from Quebec to Massachusetts.

Centralmaine.com reports the $1 billion proposal has 300 separate filings and public comments.


Lobster festival apologizes to dethroned pageant winner

ROCKLAND, Maine (AP) — New leaders at the Maine Lobster Festival are apologizing to the pageant winner who was stripped of her title over online photos.

The apology was directed toward the community and Taylor Hamlin, this year’s Maine Lobster Festival Sea Goddess, who was de-crowned just 24 hours after her coronation over social media posts showing her holding a marijuana cigarette. Leadership changes include naming Celia Knight the new president of the Maine Lobster Festival board of directors.

The outgoing president and vice president chose not to seek re-election, but will still volunteer on the festival board of directors.

In a Wednesday statement, the Hamlin family said they appreciate that the new festival leadership is “taking steps to make this right.”

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