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Maine Governor Vetoes Retail Legalization Implementation

  • by NORML November 3, 2017
    Gov LePage (R-Maine)

    Gov LePage (R-Maine)

    Republican Gov. Paul LePage today vetoed legislation that sought to regulate the production and sales of cannabis to adults. Members of the House and Senate approved the legislation late last month during a one-day special session, but did so without a veto-proof majority. (Members of the Senate voted 22-9 in favor of the bill. Members of the House voted 81-50 in favor of the bill.)

    [11/6/17 UPDATE: Members of the House of Representatives voted to let Gov. LePage’s veto stand. Some House lawmakers are further calling for legislators to extend the existing moratorium on retail sales beyond February 1, 2018.]

    LePage said, “Until I clearly understand how the federal government intends to treat states that seek to legalize marijuana, I cannot in good conscience support any scheme in state law to implement expansion of legal marijuana in Maine.”

    The Governor’s veto reverses a campaign pledge where he indicated that he would support the enactment of adult use regulation if it was approved by a voter referendum.

    A majority of Maine voters decided last November in favor of a statewide initiative legalizing the adult use, retail production, and licensed sale of marijuana. Governor LePage lobbied against the measure and in January lawmakers passed emergency legislation delaying the enactment of many of its provisions until February 2018. Since that time, the Governor has refused to work with lawmakers with regard to how to regulate marijuana sales and other provisions of the law. The Governor did endorse legislation that sought to delay any further implementation of the law until 2019, but lawmakers defeated that measure.

    The Governor’s veto, if not overridden by lawmakers, will further delay the ability of legislators to regulate the commercial cannabis market in a manner that comports with the voters’ mandate.

    NORML Political Director Justin Strekal called the Governor’s actions “disappointing but hardly surprising.”

    He said: “A majority of Maine voters decided in favor of regulating adult marijuana use and strong majorities of both the House and Senate approved legislation to implement this mandate. It is unwise for the Governor to stand in the way of this progress.”

    He added: “It makes no sense from a political, fiscal, or cultural perspective for Gov. LePage to try to put this genie back in the bottle. It is time that he look to the future rather than to the past, and take appropriate actions to comport Maine’s marijuana laws and regulations with majority public opinion and the plant’s rapidly changing legal and cultural status.”

    NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri went further: “Governor LePage’s veto is just the latest in a line of anti-democratic attacks coming from his office and his stonewalling will only ensure the prolonged existence of a criminal black market in Maine and deny the state coffers of needed tax revenue. Maine should be looking at ways to expeditiously implement a robust legalization program that represents what state voters approved at the ballot box.”

    Presently, adults may legally possess, consume, and cultivate personal use quantities of cannabis, but no regulations exist governing its retail production or sale.

    40 Responses to “Maine Governor Vetoes Retail Legalization Implementation”

    1. saferinneworleans says:

      So marijuana is still legal? It is just the regulatory effort that the governor vetoed? I would be fine with a legal, unregulated market.

      • Duck says:

        You’re right, the post is a little unclear. It says “Presently, adults may legally possess, consume, and cultivate personal use quantities of cannabis, but no regulations exist governing its retail production or sale.” But that doesn’t mean there’s a legal, unregulated market. It means the only market is illegal. There would only be a legal market at all if the regulations were approved.

        • Dain Bramage says:

          Here is an excerpt fron Portland Press Herald:

          The path forward for the ballot-box law remains unclear, with the current moratorium on recreational sales expiring Feb. 1. The Legislature reconvenes in January and could pass legislation then, but it’s uncertain whether the political dynamic will change enough in the next two months for an implementation law to be passed or the moratorium to be extended. If neither occurs, the ballot box law would take effect, a prospect that some lawmakers find alarming.

          “I feel like we legalized gasoline, but not gas stations,” said Rep. Martin Grohman, a Biddeford independent.

          Sen. Roger Katz, R-Augusta, co-chairman of the special legislative committee that wrote the implementation bill, is unsure what the next steps will be.

          “You know, 74-62 is a good victory in a basketball game, but it’s not enough to overcome a veto,” Katz said after the House vote. “We will regroup and we will sit around and try to figure out where the heck we go from here, and I hope somebody has some bright ideas because right now I don’t have any.”

    2. Matt says:

      In a matter of time, it will be back to: “If the police officer says you have mariHuana on y0u, just turn around, put your hands behind your back and do NOT resist. MarijuHana is an illegal and dangerous drug. You NEED help. That marijuana is bad news. Gov. Lepage strikes once again.

      I may be in MI, but I stand EMPOWERED with my friends in Colorado, Vegas, Cali.

      Stand for legalization, EVERYWHERE. This madness has to stop.

      Btw, I have already written Gov. Lepage.

      The old man needs to wake up to 2017.

      Or….

    3. Nate says:

      Demand a recall of this man. If he refuses to uphold the will of the people he should be removed from office, period.

    4. Denny Strausser Jr says:

      If a governor’s decision can be challenged I hope that it will be. Bad decisions like that will also get him unpopular among voters. Maine voters choose to legalize, so there will be a lot of unhappy voters out there. Even if they don’t throw him out, he won’t last in office with those kind of dumb decisions.

      But I guess you need something getting started first, before something is at least done. I hope, it gets to be a federal case taking Marijuana off the list off theirs, is what I hope will happen. But with Jeff Sessions in there, it will not be easy. It is possible we will have to deal with that ahole for awhile yet. Hopefully 2020, we’ll have someone running the country that will put a federal stop to it. No longer on the Federal Government’s Hot List Of Drugs.

      As a matter a fact, decriminalize other drugs, and then treat it like some sort of public health problem. Don’t give them Jail, give them rehab. Weed Tax would probably more than pay for the rehabs.

      Encourage people to rehab, without fear of arrest. Fined, encouraged to rehab, and left alone. Cut people a break, many of these people went into their addiction through legal opioids. Anyway… Peace out.

    5. Joel says:

      He’s in the pockets of caregivers. Wants to keep a medical program only.

    6. Mr. Sandman says:

      Alternative article title:

      How to ensure that you won’t win reelection in 1 easy step.

    7. Walker says:

      I feel bad for the residents of Maine who worked long hours and spent their hard-earned money to get their state legalization efforts recognized only to be stunned by this “slap in the face”. If we might only have some federal guidance on marijuana many of our problems would certainly be relieved.

      • Dain Bramage says:

        Federal guidance? Sessions has been vocal regarding his opposition to marijuana legalization. No mystery there. There will be no help from Trump, if that’s what you mean!

    8. Juggler says:

      In Maine, the term length for Governor is four years, and each individual is limited to no more than two consecutive terms. LePage was elected in 2010, beginning his first term in January, 2011. His replacement will be elected in approximately one year from now. He’ll be out of office as of January, 2019.

    9. megamook says:

      Piece of Shit. I wonder how much pharma paid him for that.

    10. Julian says:

      https://www.marijuana.com/news/2017/11/maine-lawmakers-contemplate-override-of-lepages-marijuana-veto/

      By the time this posts we’ll know if the state legislature came up with enough votes to override LePage’s veto. The legislature has until midnight tonight to come up with 11 more votes in the House to get the 3/4 majority. Call your State Congressman to find out how they voted.
      Project SAM is behind stopping legislatively enacted marijuana legalization, which this woud be considered since the state legislature intervened on voter initiated law.
      Regardless, even without a 3/4 majority, and despite the veto the majority of the legislature already voted in favor of recreational marijuana legalization. Lets see how this fact holds out in court.

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