Maine Governor Vetoes Retail Legalization Implementation

  • by NORML November 3, 2017

    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.

    46 responses to “Maine Governor Vetoes Retail Legalization Implementation”

    1. Marty says:

      Impeach that ignorant SOB. The people of Maine voted for MJ legalization in a ballot initiative that needed NO politicians involvement whatsoever. Then this axx hole “governor” wants to throw a wrench into it just because of his fxcked up beliefs.

      • Brian says:

        AND he stated he would support it while running for office. I wonder who’s in his pockets now.

      • Zac says:

        This guy is such a piece os sh.. .He is taking away our rights. We majority voted for this just like we voted his dumb azz in office. In my opinion he is abusing his power and she at the least never be reelected..wtf were we thinking..

      • sk says:

        We saw how well this worked in Montana. After a few years the people made their position clear: Montana is a medical marijuana state and that access to the cannabis cannot be wrapped up in prohibitionist red tape.

        I have little doubt in a few years Maine will mirror this pattern. It’s unfortunate that lawmakers have this ability to undo direct democracy, but democracy will succeed nonetheless.

    2. Julian says:

      I don’t regret a dollar I invested in the Mane Campaign. And I live in Texas!

      Question; if the state legislature voted to approve marijuana legalization, can’t that be used as evidence in Federal court against the scheduling of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act? Doesn’t the majority of voters and legislature’s majority count in court as legislatively enacted recreational marijuana legalization despite the governor’s veto?

      • Julian says:


        • Johnny Marr says:

          This issue can’t be taken to a federal level due to the fact that this is a state legislation discussion and Vito you said that you were from Texas so I would think you would understand how the States legislation Works different from state to state hence the term State legislation totally not trying to be a jerk I really appreciate anyone who is helping the cause I just thought maybe that would help if not you can write back and tell me I’m an a****** other than that have a great day thank you

          • Julian says:

            Haha… no, I do not think you are an a$$#0!e whatsoever. But you are misunderstanding the law.

            What I was referring to are a variety of active Federal Court cases such as Washington v. Sessions that are challenging the constitutionality of the entire federal scheduling of marijuana. Federal judges rely on state and federal legislatively enacted marijuana legalization to make their decisions. Lately, states like Massachussetts and Maine that have voter initiated marijuana law have had their state legislatures modify the voter initiated law. As a result, Federal and Supreme Court Justice Courts are making landmark decisions in favor of legalization such as the Barbuto v. Advantage Sales & Marketing case that shot down the supremacy clause to award the plaintiff damage$ for being fired for off the job medical marijuana consumption. In other words states got greedy, modified our voter initiatives to stop or slow down legalization and gave state legalization exactly what we needed… legislatively enacted marijuana law. When a majority of states do this federal law gets Trumped. Even the watered down CUA law in Texas means the state recognizes marijuana as medicine. Hence, why is marijuana in schedule 1?

            Granted the “enacted” part was vetoed in Maine, but the majority of citizens and legislature voted for recreational legalization. My question is if that still counts as evidence in a federal court. That is up to a Federal Judge.

      • sk says:

        No. Not for descheduling entirely. However the fact that more than half the states recognize that marijuana has medical use already violates the schedule 1 status.

        However, simply because states legalize recreational use does not in itself solve the question of potential for abuse.

        Indeed, the way that the CSA is written marijuana probably does qualify since there is no provision for actual social cost. Of course, so would ethanol, nicotine, caffeine and thanksgiving turkey under the criteria that would place a drug as Schedule 1 – again, because there is no provision for if the drug is actually dangerous or not.

        In fact, there is no clear definition for ‘potential for abuse’ or ‘recognized medical use’.

        The list is largely arbitrary responses to whatever cultural values exist at the time. Some, if not most, drugs on the list are dangerous and should be regulated (though locking up users is a waste of everyone’s time, and not in keeping with the role of federal authority) while others, and arguably many, are not.

        Ultimately it’s up to lawmakers to deschedule.

    3. Bill Tetley says:

      great keep fueling the black market.

    4. Mikey says:

      Maby your better off waiting for leadership that embraces legalization,he’ll only pass bad policy anyway.

    5. Mikey says:

      Lapage is one of sessions cronies,your better off waiting for leadership that embraces legalization.

    6. Dan says:

      This is why nobody wants to live in Maine, but people who would vote for LePage

    7. Luigi says:


    8. Mark Mitcham says:

      Disappointing, but not surprising, considering the fact that Gov. LePage is a big fan of Trump and his overt racist behavior. LePage considers Trump a political soulmate, and has a well-established history of racism and bigotry himself!

      And of course, Trump and Sessions are known and self-identified enemies to marijuana legalization.

    9. daniel jones says:

      Too bad real people with real medical conditions will have to wait in order to satisfy LePage’s ideological and political ideals. Typical of most conservatives. They rationalize hurting people. They are sinply mean.

    10. Evening Bud says:

      So LePage flat doesn’t care what the voters decided. He’s shown us that he’s an opportunist and a liar. I will celebrate the day he’s out of office, as I will Christie and Susana Martinez.

      What the hell is up with Americans that they keep voting in these assholes?