Maine’s legalization of recreational marijuana has been a mess since voters approved it over a year ago. The problem is that while the majority of Maine residents support legalization of cannabis, Governor LePage does not. The state has until February 1st to implement laws.
Legislators have put forth a bill to implement rules for adult-use of cannabis but the governor vetoed it, mostly citing that marijuana is still illegal on the federal level. Governor Lepage has never supported the legalization of marijuana and agrees with Attorney General Jeff Sessions on most things having to do with marijuana.
But now, state lawmakers are expressing hope that they could still pass a marijuana bill with LePage’s blessing. The legislative committee in charge of setting up a regulatory framework has set up a public hearing on a new bill for January 5 and is seeking a meeting with the governor in hopes of reaching a compromise.“I’m feeling positive that if we can resolve a few of these issues, I think there is a pathway to passing a bill,” committee member Rep. Patrick Corey told the Portland Press Herald.
In his veto letter, LePage expressed displeasure with the different regulatory structures between the proposed recreational market and the state’s existing medical marijuana market. He also questioned whether cannabis tax revenues would pay for the regulatory costs. These concerns could be addressed as lawmakers work on the new bill.But mostly, LePage’s grievance with the regulation bill is that legal cannabis conflicts with federal law. “The Obama administration said they would not enforce Federal law related to marijuana, however the Trump administration has not taken that position,” he wrote in his veto letter. “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.”