Maine Overturns Governor's Veto Of Marijuana Bill
The Maine House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to overturn Governor Paul LePage's (R) veto of a marijuana bill designed to allow for the commercial sale of cannabis within the state.
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The veto was overridden with a 109-39 vote and will now travel to the state Senate where lawmakers must overturn the governor's veto with a two-thirds majority. According to The Portland Press Herald, it is believed there is enough support in the state Senate to make this happen.
The marijuana bill in question would allow for the commercial sale of cannabis within the state of Maine and was created by a special legislative committee. Possession of recreational marijuana has been legal in Maine since 2016, however, there has been no legal process by which to sell cannabis in the state. Maine already has an existing medical marijuana program.
Governor LePage originally vetoed the bill because of his opposition to it violating federal law, saying that he "cannot in good conscience support a law that, on its face, violates federal law."
He also raised concerns over new taxes and regulations that would undoubtedly come into effect should adult-use cannabis be legalized. His concern stems from the idea that new regulations would conflict with those governing Maine's existing medical marijuana program, despite successful examples being set by states such as Colorado and more recently, California.
What would a new bill mean for Maine?
The new marijuana bill allows those who have lived and paid taxes in the state of Maine for at least four years to apply for a recreational dispensary license. For those growing at home, limits would be applied and home growers would have to scale back from their current six plant allowance to only three. Social consumption clubs would also be banned under the new law.
LePage is currently in his final term as governor, meaning that even if his veto holds up, he will not be able to seek re-election come November time. It seems Maine's new marijuana bill is on its way to becoming law, one way or another.