Maine Legislature Green Lights Recreational Marijuana Sales Over Governor's Veto
|Friday, May 4, 2018 | ProCon.org | MORE HEADLINES|
Source: Marijuana.com, "Maine Lawmakers Override Governor's Veto Threat, Clearing Way for Marijuana Sales to Begin," marijuana.com, May 2, 2018
On May 2, 2018, the Maine Legislature passed legislation to launch legal retail sales of recreational marijuana after overriding Governor Paul LePage's veto of LD 1719 An Act to Implement a Regulatory Structure for Adult Use Marijuana. The legislation allows for the creation of a framework to regulate the legal sale of adult-use marijuana.
In Nov. 2016, Maine voters approved legalization of recreational marijuana by ballot measure, making the possession and cultivation of marijuana legal for adults age 21 and over, but the framework to implement legal sales of marijuana products was not implemented at the time. LD 1719, the bill vetoed by Governor LePage, and overridden by the Maine Legislature on May 2, 2018, will now allow state regulators to begin creating and establishing rules to regulate and permit the commercial cultivation and retail sale of marijuana. The bill also reduced the number of plants that can be grown for personal use from six to three. According to legislators, the legal sale of marijuana in the state of Maine is not expected to commence until at least 2019.
Maine Senator Roger Katz, the sponsor of LD 1719, argued the bill was necessary in order to finally establish the regulations necessary to properly implement legal recreational marijuana sales in the state. Katz said "sales of marijuana are going on right now out there… So it's here anyway, it's just a question of whether we're going to do it right and do it in a regulated way and a safe way or whether it's just going to continue in the black market."
In his Apr. 27 veto letter, Governor LePage had argued that the bill should not be implemented because it failed to integrate Maine's medical marijuana and recreational marijuana programs, leaving the two programs with "different levels of regulatory oversight and a different tax structure." The Governor also voiced his concern that marijuana remains illegal under federal law, stating that "possession of any amount of marijuana under federal law is a misdemeanor crime… and I cannot in good conscience support a law that, on its face, violates federal law."
Maine is one of 9 states and the District of Columbia where recreational marijuana is currently legal.
Joey Connor, "Extras on Excise: Maine Marijuana Market Remains a Political Battlefield," bna.com, Apr. 25, 2018
Brandon Doyen, "Maine Senate Votes to Approve Recreational Marijuana Bill," wabi.tv, Apr. 11, 2018
Max Greenwood, "Maine House Overturns Governor's Veto of Marijuana Bill," thehill.com, May 2, 2018
Paul R. LePage, Veto Message: An Act to Implement a Regulatory Structure for Adult Use Marijuana, maine.gov, Apr. 27, 2018
Scott Thistle, "Recreational Marijuana Is Now Legal in Maine- Sort of. Now the State Has to Write the Rules," pressherald.com, May 3, 2018