Proposed 100% Tariff On Wine, Cheese Could Devastate Maine Industries 


Ned Swain traveled from Portland to Washington, D.C., to deliver testimony that he hoped would save his small business.

Swain runs Devenish Wines, a Maine-based wine distribution company that stocks restaurants and wine shops from Portland to Mount Desert Island and Down East. He’s one of many Mainers who have spent decades making a life in Maine’s hospitality, tourism and restaurant industries who fear a new proposal for 100 percent tariffs on European wine, cheese, olives and other agricultural goods that would “devastate” their business.

“There are a lot of people quoting figures saying that a number of warehouse workers, logistics workers and people who work for trucking companies will lose their jobs,” Swain said. “I wanted to show up in Washington and say, ‘Hey, I’m not from Manhattan or San Francisco. I work in a warehouse, and this will shrink my business.’”

The U.S. Trade Representative has proposed dramatic new tariffs on wine, cheese and other agricultural products from the European Union that would essentially double the price of those goods on the shelves — if they made it to the states at all.

Source: Maine Public

$1.6 Million To Maine Lobstermen For  Pending Gear Rules

lobster boat

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is allocating $1.6 million to help the lobster industry adapt to new and pending gear rules that aim to protect the endangered North Atlantic right whale.

NOAA says the funds will likely be used to aid acquisition of new gear, such as breakaway trap-rope or costly, remote-controlled “ropeless” technology that could reduce the chance the whales will be injured or killed by entanglements.

NOAA spokesperson Jennifer Goebbel says the agency will seek guidance from the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Council.

Source:  Maine Public

Fishermen hope Mainers get hooked on  monkfish 


Monkfish may look like horrific sea monsters, but can Mainers look past that enough to place the fish center stage on the dinner table?

The Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association hopes so. The nonprofit, in partnership with Luke’s Lobster, plans a series of meals and demonstrations to shine a spotlight on underappreciated fish species that could diversify and strengthen Maine’s fishing industry.

First up in the What’s the Catch? series is monkfish, a species that had its heyday about two decades ago but has since fallen out of popularity. A ticketed event on Jan. 8 at Luke’s Lobster on the Portland waterfront will include tasting monkfish prepared several ways and a fish-cutting demonstration.

Source: Portland Press Herald

40 applications for Maine cannabis licenses on first day


Marijuana businesses submitted 40 applications for conditional licenses to operate in Maine on the first day forms were available, state regulators said.

Interest in the application forms spiked when the office put them online Thursday afternoon. The page received 4,000 visits, of which 1,000 were unique views, said Office of Marijuana Policy spokesman David Heidrich.

“It was a little surprising,” he said. “There was a lot of interest in seeing those applications once they were available.”

Maine has a tiered application process for adult-use marijuana businesses. Licensees or employees of those business first have to obtain an individual identification card, which requires fingerprinting and a background check.

After that, applicants can get individual conditional licenses for cultivation, testing and manufacturing facilities and stores. A full yearlong operating license is contingent on municipal government authorization.

Source:Portland Press Herald

Maine now accepting applications for recreational marijuana businesses 


After three years of delays, Maine is just about ready to begin licensing recreational marijuana businesses.

The Office of Marijuana Policy, which will oversee roll out of the adult-use market, will begin taking testing lab applications on Nov. 18, and start accepting cultivation, manufacturing and retail license applications on Dec. 5.

“The Office of Marijuana Policy has worked … to develop and institute regulations that we hope will serve as a model of how to properly regulate marijuana for the rest of the country,” Erik Gundersen, director of the office, said on Monday. “The goal has been to put forth the best rules and regulations possible.”

Source: Portland Press Herald

Efforts to Grow Maine’s Hemp Industry


Recent changes in how the federal government regulates the once-forbidden plant, coupled with the rising popularity of medicinal products made from its flowers, have fueled a boom in hemp farming. Today’s growers and researchers are working to find the way forward for a crop that was all but lost to decades of prohibition.

Ed Charbonneau is standing in a field of shaggy, green plants topped with sticky flowers that sparkle with a coat of tiny crystals. The air around this field in Whitefield is heavy with the musky odor of mature hemp buds. Charbonneau is cutting branches and even digging a plant up by the roots to take back with him to his home state of Florida.

Source:  Maine Public

Maine’s high court upholds town ownership of beach in Kennebunkport


Maine’s highest court has ruled that the town of Kennebunkport owns Goose Rocks Beach, possibly ending a decade-old legal battle over ownership and control of the 2-mile stretch of oceanfront.

The 42-page ruling traces control of the beach back to the colonial period and dismisses arguments made by nearly two dozen beachfront property owners that ownership of the beach had effectively reverted to neighbors rather than to the public.

“Therefore, on the record before us, and in the absence of any evidence suggesting that the disputed land was conveyed into private ownership, we affirm the holding of the trial court that in the unique circumstances of this case, legal title to the disputed land seaward of the seawall, including the beach, is held by the Town of Kennebunkport for the benefit of the public,” the ruling says.

Source:  Portland Press Herald

Maine’s ‘death with dignity’ law is in effect. 


Maine is now one of nine states to allow people to adopt such a law after it was passed by the Democratic-led Legislature earlier this year and signed into law by Gov. Janet Mills in June.

Adults with a terminal illness who are deemed mentally competent can request life-ending medication from a doctor, who can choose to fill the prescription after two oral requests, two waiting periods and one written request with recordkeeping requirements.

Source:  BDN Maine

Maine chefs switching to cannabis edibles employment


As restaurant owners in Portland and beyond struggle with a back-of-house labor shortage that they say threatens their business model, Bishop and a wave of other cooks responsible for elevating the Maine food scene over the last decade are finding better wages, less stressful work environments and greater opportunities for advancement in cannabis. Equipped with years of training, cooks are becoming caregivers, bartenders are now “budtenders” and pastry chefs make better livings as cannabis chocolatiers and candymakers.

Source: Maine Restaurant Workers Are Finding The Marijuana Industry ‘Much More Appealing’ | Maine Public