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Maine: Lawmakers Push To Rewrite 2016 Voter-Approved Marijuana Law

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director February 27, 2018

    Gov LePage (R-Maine)

    State lawmakers are moving forward with a legislative proposal to significantly amend various provisions of the state’s 2016 voter-approved cannabis law: The Marijuana Legalization Act.

    Members of the Marijuana Legalization Implementation Committee have voted 16 to 1 in favor of overhauling the law, which has yet to be fully implemented. Lawmakers had initially voted last year to delay the enactment of provisions regulating the retail production and sale of cannabis. Then in November, Republican Gov. Paul LePage vetoed legislation that sought to license and regulate marijuana businesses and sales, stating: “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.” Lawmakers voted in favor of sustaining LePage’s veto.

    Now lawmakers are pushing a plan to amend and repeal numerous provisions of the law, including provisions that have already taken effect. Specifically, language in the new proposal would limit the quantity of mature marijuana plants that an adult may legally grow in a private residence from six to three. Legislators are advocating for this change despite the fact that no regulated, commercial market yet exists for cannabis — leaving adults reliant exclusively upon home cultivation operations. Further, no data has been presented indicating that the state’s existing plant quotas are either being abused or that home-cultivated marijuana is being diverted into the criminal market. NORML opposes this proposed amendment.

    “A majority of Maine voters decided in favor of legalizing and regulating the use of marijuana by adults,” NORML’s Political Director Justin Strekal said. “It is time for lawmakers to implement the will of the people, not undermine it.”

    Other language in the new proposal would repeal language permitting for the operation of state-licensed social use facilities, and would eliminate provisions redirecting portions of marijuana-related tax revenue to localities that explicitly permit such operations. Separate language in the bill seeks to impose a new 21.5 percent excise tax on wholesale marijuana transactions. The bill also makes it easier for communities that wish to ban adult use operations to do so.

    If you reside in Maine, you can use NORML’s ‘Take Action Center’ to contact your lawmakers here.

    A finalized version of the bill is anticipated to go before lawmakers in the House and Senate in late March. Rep. Teresa Pierce, D-Falmouth, the Implementation Committee’s House chairman, said that the so-called “compromises” in the plan are necessary because of the close nature of the 2016 vote and because the Governor has remained steadfastly opposed to the issue. Yet, even despite the proposed amendments, House Minority Leader Ken Fredette predicts that LePage will likely veto this committee bill too.

    In Massachusetts, where voters approved a similar 2016 initiative regulating the adult use and retail sale of cannabis, regulators this week also announced delays and changes to the voter-approved law. On Monday, following pressure from the Governor and other lawmakers, members of the Cannabis Control Commission voted for a limited rollout of retail marijuana sales in July — postponing licenses for home delivery services, marijuana lounges, and other distribution channels until early next year. Commercial marijuana production and sales were initially slated to begin on January 1, 2018, but lawmakers last year passed emergency legislation postponing the enactment of those regulatory provisions until this summer.

    24 responses to “Maine: Lawmakers Push To Rewrite 2016 Voter-Approved Marijuana Law”

    1. TheOracle says:

      LaPage is a brazen idiot, and a proto-fascist to go against thte will of the people. You can’t get everybody to kiss your ass, LaPage. Back in the hinterland of Maine there are those small rural communities whose local government, police departments, chamber of commerce, practically everybody is going to be making money of cannabis tourism. Enough to silence the local prohibitionists there because the $ is flowing!

      Give it up, LePig!

      I’m hoping the polls in Pennsylvania are up over last spring’s percentage for legalization.

      http://www.readingeagle.com/news/article/poll-majority-of-pennsylvanians-support-legalization-of-marijuana

    2. Julian says:

      Repeal the state legislature and Governor of Maine.

      • Jameson says:

        Well voters should remember the names and vote these people out of office next election. This is absurd!

    3. dbreeze says:

      “The love of $ is the root of all evil.”
      If individuals are allowed to provide for their own needs according to their own determination the $ value of cannabis will drop to near $0.
      $ value is the only value worth considering for way too many of our “leaders” in America. I have no issue with State regulations on commerce, but the State has no business in my home or body.
      Do not expect those in power to simply return to you God-given rights that they have taken away. This is worth big $ to a few, and they will fight to the bitter end to maintain their wealthy status.

    4. Evening Bud says:

      LePage is such an asshole.

    5. Anon says:

      The shills in suits know whats best for us!

    6. Dain Bramage says:

      LePage is Trump’s bitch, right after Sessions. LePage longs to be Sessions, and dresses up like Sessions late at night and prances around in front of the mirror, fantasizing about being viciously castigated by Trump. So I’ve heard.

      So naturally, Maine is fucked until they can get rid of that asshole.

      • Dain Bramage says:

        Republicans, or Marijuana Legalization: pick one.

        For me that’s an easy choice. It’s like asking, would you prefer a million dollars, or an ass-beating? Shit. I’ll take the cash!

        • Denny Strausser Jr says:

          I don’t like Sessions myself. I wish he’d have a heart attack or something. He wouldn’t have to die, just enough that he’s too disabled to do his job anymore.

          He is such an idiot, thinking cannabis is near as dangerous as heroin. It’s really stupid. Stupider yet, the FDA goes and approves oral types of Opioids, and then wonder why people have such addiction problems to Heroin.

          Here’s a legal type of heroin, now we’ll pull you off. But some can not get off of it.

          The system looks like some dumbass.

          • Dain Bramage says:

            Well, I don’t wish anyone physical harm; but I guess I get as angry as anyone about fuckwads like Sessions and the suffering he inflict on other people. I will never forgive the racist Republicans in the Senate for confirming him, there is no excuse for that.

            But that brings me to the bigger problem: Trump. Getting rid of Sessions, without getting rid of Trump — indeed, the Republicans themselves — won’t help us. Trump is the asshole, and Sessions is the turd; flush Sessions, and Trump will just shit out another turd just like him, only not recused from the Russia investigation, and firmly secured in Trump’s pocket.

            We who support legalization must boycott all Republicans, and vote with the Democratic wave until the whole goddamn traitorous GOP is flushed down the shitter.

            In my opinion!

            • Denny Strausser Jr says:

              Stoned and watching Ghostbusters II.
              I guess that was a bit excessive. I just wish so much that some people would properly educate themselves, and stop thinking something is bad when it is not. Pot isn’t dangerous.

              Yes.
              And we’re both Democrats.

              Tom Wolf at least signed the limited medical marijuana law into effect. I wish he would consider the 5 or 6 bills to legalize recreational marijuana (cannabis.) These bills exist.

              But we’re on agreeing grounds.

    7. Romit says:

      Great step by government. Keep up the good work.

    8. Denny Strausser Jr says:

      Well that is a step in the wrong direction. The people decided, they need to listen to them. The more government listens to their people, the less as much power the FEDS will have over the laws. It is time to legalize.

      My two cents. Too sober for this. No pot no money.

    9. thetruth says:

      Doesn’t matter. We do what we want in Maine.

    10. thetruth says:

      Doesn’t matter. We do what we want in Maine.

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