MAINE: Republican Gov. Paul LePage last week 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.)
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.