Mainers to weigh in on proposed pot rules in pivotal hearing

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine’s marijuana enthusiasts are getting their first chance to provide testimony about the state’s plans to regulate recreational use of the drug.

The Maine Office of Marijuana Policy is holding a public hearing about the state’s draft marijuana rules on Thursday. State officials say the hearing is an important step on the way to implementation of laws about legal pot. They say marijuana could be available in stores in early 2020.

Voters in Maine approved legal recreational use of marijuana in a 2016 vote. The draft rules must still be approved by the Maine Legislature before they can implemented. The rules cover issues such as licensure and taxation.

The hearing is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. It’s taking place at Holiday Inn by the Bay in Portland.


Maine confirms first case of measles in 2 years 

MADISON, Maine (AP) — The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention says the first confirmed case of measles in the state since 2017 involves a vaccinated child who has recovered from the disease. 

Maine CDC says Tuesday the case involves a child from Somerset County. The agency says the child did not experience any serious complications, and officials have notified facilities where potential exposure occurred. 

The agency says it’s unclear where the student was exposed to the disease. There have been more than 800 confirmed cases of measles in the country this year. It has been the worst year for the disease in the country in decades. 

The state says people who aren’t vaccinated should receive at least one dose of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, which is easily available.  


Bill aims to protect pregnant workers from discrimination 

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine could provide further protections for pregnant workers from discrimination in the workplace when their employers fail to accommodate them. 

Democratic Rep. Anne Carney’s bill is set for a work session before the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee Thursday. 

Maine law currently says an employer who treats a pregnant woman differently than other workers is unlawfully discriminating against the employee. 

The bill would change “pregnant woman” to “pregnant person.” 

Maine would also consider it unlawful employment discrimination for employers to fail to accommodate an employee’s limitations due to pregnancy or childbirth. The bill would make an exception if such an accommodation would pose an undue hardship for the employer. 

The bill would also say employees with a pregnancy-related condition have the same accommodation rights in state employment law as individuals with disabilities. 


Maine tax on Poland Spring rejected in committee 

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — A Maine legislative committee has voted against a bill to tax water bottler Poland Spring. 

The Portland Press Herald reports the House and Senate will now consider the legislation. 

The Legislature’s Taxation Committee voted Tuesday to reject a Democrat’s bill that would have charged Poland Spring 12 cents for every gallon of water extracted for bottling. 

The legislation is part of years-old unsuccessful efforts to tax the hundreds of millions of gallons that Poland Spring bottles in Maine. 

The bill targets Poland Spring, which would have paid roughly $115 million under the proposal based on the 960 million gallons extracted last year. Revenues from the tax would fund college tuition grants and Maine’s broadband internet network. 

Opponents include several Democrats and Republicans who say Poland Spring employs over 800 people in Maine. 


Attorney alleges Maine is unlawfully holding 13-year-old 

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A Maine defense attorney says her 13-year-old client is being held unlawfully at the state’s only youth prison. 

Attorney Sarah Branch filed papers last week asking the court to decide whether the boy’s detention at Long Creek Youth Development Center in Portland is legal. 

The Portland Press Herald reports the boy has been found not competent to stand trial four times in two years. 

He has been detained periodically for eight of the last 23 months. 

Branch says Long Creek has failed to treat the boy’s mental health needs as a judge directed at the latest competency hearing in April, and that continued detention is unconstitutional. 

Corrections officials say the boy has access to services necessary to gain competency, including psychiatric care. 

The boy faces a public charge of assault on an officer. Other charges are confidential. 


District Attorney in Maine admonished for meeting with judge 

LEWISTON, Maine (AP) — A Maine district attorney has been admonished for meeting with a judge about a case without the defendant’s attorney present. 

The Maine Board of Overseers of the Bar panel said Maeghan Maloney, district attorney for Kennebec and Somerset counties, met a Superior Court justice in 2014 at his direction to answer questions about a case involving a child who was sexually assaulted. 

The defendant in the trial was convicted, but an appeals court ultimately overturned the conviction after the meeting came to light. A new trial was ordered. 

The Kennebec Journal reports that Maloney says she realizes now she should have said no to the request. 

Admonishment is a non-disciplinary sanction imposed in cases of minor misconduct. It is unclear whether the judge faces disciplinary action. 


More than 700 vaccinated after restaurant worker infection 

CARIBOU, Maine (AP) — Cary Medical Center and Pines Health Services have provided more than 700 vaccines to people who may have been exposed to the Hepatitis A virus in Caribou, Maine. 

The Maine Center for Disease Control reports that people who ate at Burger Boy from April 24 through May 13 could have been exposed to the virus by a restaurant worker. 

The Maine CDC alerted the public on Friday, May 17, after confirming the diagnosis. 

WAGM-TV reports that the window is closing for the vaccine to be effective. Monday is the last day to get vaccinated for those who ate at Burger Boy on May 13, the final day of the exposure window. 


Acadia National Park slated for improvements in months ahead 

BAR HARBOR, Maine (AP) — The National Park Service says numerous improvements are taking place at Acadia National Park in Maine over the coming months. 

The service says work has begun at the Hulls Cove Visitor Center and work is slated to begin on the Frazer Point Pier early in July. Hiking trails are also scheduled for improvements. Some work is already finished, including the rehabilitation of historic firepits at Seawall Campgrounds. 

Acadia National Park is one of Maine’s top tourist destinations in the summer months. It’s famous for Cadillac Mountain, the high point of the North Atlantic’s seaboard. 

The park service says the maintenance projects are paid for via methods including park entrance fees, federal funding and fundraising. 

 

 

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