James MacWilliams prunes a marijuana plant that he is growing indoors in Portland, Dec. 13, 2017. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty | AP

Maine’s acting finance commissioner, Kristen Figueroa, has named the vice chairman of the Maine Democratic Party to spearhead the delayed rollout of adult-use marijuana sales.

Figueroa announced that she has selected Erik Gundersen to the marijuana implementation post.

Gundersen was a staffer for Democratic House Speaker Sara Gideon and a policy adviser to the Legislature’s Marijuana Legalization Implementation Committee, which rewrote the adult-use cannabis law that voters approved in 2016.

[Maine needs help with its pot rules, so it’s searching for an expert]

When asked about Gundersen’s expertise in cannabis policy, the governor’s office referred to his role advising the implementation committee and described the work as extensive and nonpartisan.

“Erik has been at the core of legalization implementation efforts since its inception, and, as a result of this extensive work, has the knowledge, experience, skills, and relationships to effectively implement the law in as safe and expeditious manner as possible. Additionally, the Administration does not view the implementation of legalized marijuana as a partisan issue,” spokeswoman Lindsay Crete said.

Cannabis companies donated more than $70,000 to Mills’ inaugural committee and have vigorously lobbied state lawmakers as they seek an edge in Maine’s fledgling market.

[Orono’s school board wants marijuana shops banned from downtown]

Recreational sales in Maine have been stalled amid changes to the voter-approved law.

The state is also looking for a new consultant to help create the regulatory rules for sales after a previous deal fell through.

Gundersen’s position is not subject to confirmation by the Legislature.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.