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PORTLAND, Maine — Maine's timeline for getting legal marijuana in stores is uncertain in the wake of the cancellation of a consulting deal to write rules.

Maine hired BOTEC, a Los Angeles consultant, to help craft the rules about issues such as sales and packaging. Maine officials were hopeful the rules would be ready by April 2019. However, officials said Jan. 25, 2019, that the state has withdrawn from the contract.

The withdrawal from the contract comes after another bidder appealed the award. State officials say the contract will go out to bid again.

Maine voters approved Ballot Question 1 to legalize adult-use marijuana in 2016, but implementing rules governing it has been slow-going.

The Legislature is also looking at a flurry of bills about cannabis this session. One would seal records for past convictions of marijuana offenses.

— Patrick Whittle

Featured image: James MacWilliams prunes marijuana plants Dec. 13, 2017, at an indoor grow in Portland, Maine. The state had anticipated setting up rules in place for its adult-use marijuana marketplace by April 2019, but it terminated a contract with a consultant tasked with drafting rules about sales, packaging, and other issues. (Associated Press file photo/Robert F. Bukaty)