Fireworks are now legal in Maine, but stores have yet to open

6:18 PM, Jan 2, 2012   |    comments
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Steve Marson hopes to transform this former car dealership in Manchester into a fireworks store.

MANCHESTER, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Fireworks are now legal in the state of Maine, but one prospective retailer says his plan to open six stores across the state has been stalled in a sea of bureaucratic red tape. 

"I've got people we've been interviewing, I've got a bank loan secured, I've got a half million dollars in product on order from China due here in May and I am sitting here now, in my first building in Manchester, Maine... I have nothing in it," stated a frustrated Steven Marson, who has worked with fireworks for over forty years. 

"I've got five other locations that we are going to be in that I haven't started on because we don't know what the process is going to be," added Marson. 

Marson, who owns Central Maine Pyrotechnics and puts on large scale fireworks displays throughout the region, says he has been working with the state for months to figure out what will be required of him to make his buildings safe and to get the proper permits to open for business.

"I do not know today what type of sprinkler system I'm allowed to put in here.  There's three different types," he said.  "I can submit something but they still haven't come back from the rule making and decided what rules we are going to follow."

Marson says he hoped to open his first store just after midnight on New Year's Day, but is not sure when he'll be allowed to move forward.  He says the state still needs to agree on building codes and other regulations before he and other people looking to get in the business can make the necessary improvements and open their doors.

State fire Marshal John Dean admits the process has been 'cumbersome to get going'.  He says that since Maine has not allowed the sale, use or possession of fireworks since the 1940's they have run into a lot of different situations and getting rules in place has been an all new experience.

Steve Marson hopes to open six locations to start, putting thirty people to work, once he can start getting everything in order.

"I understand the wheels of bureaucracy can be slow, but I just feel, you know when I listen to the Forbes' report that Maine is 50th in the nation for business, I can tell you what today, as a businessman, I can understand completely why we're last."


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