It’s tough to tell what Maine’s Governor Paul LePage is all about, what we do know is that he is no advocate for legalized marijuana. While his state’s voters want, and voted to legalize recreational marijuana back in 2016, he has done everything he could to stop the implementation of recreational marijuana laws. Now though, he is delaying new restrictive medical marijuana rules until May.
It isn’t very likely that he has delayed these new medical marijuana rules because he believes they are too strict. All the same, tensions have been settled somewhat by the delay. Whether what legislators come back with will be more restrictive still remains to be seen.
The rules, scheduled to go into effect Thursday, would have allowed surprise inspection of caregiver operations and closed regulatory loopholes that permitted marijuana processors to make and sell infused edibles, tinctures and lotions. But LePage agreed to put the new rules on hold until May so a legislative committee that oversees the medical marijuana program can draft a new law to implement program reforms.
“While I believe strongly that the medical marijuana program needs improved and increased regulation, waiting until May to ensure we do not create unnecessary confusion and complication is a reasonable approach,” LePage said in a letter sent Wednesday to Rep. Deborah Sanderson, R-Chelsea.
Sanderson, a member of the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee, had asked LePage to delay implementation. The committee had endorsed a bill to put the new rules on hold, but it would not have made it to the governor’s desk in time to delay implementation. The committee expects to propose legislation this session that would address many issues raised by the administration, Sanderson said.
Nearly all of New England will have legalized recreational marijuana after Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont implement their marijuana laws. How long do you think Governor LePage can delay and make marijuana laws too restrictive to be useful?