Maine Gov. Paul LePage plans to veto the legislature-approved recreational cannabis implementation bill, the Portland Press Herald reports. However, the measure passed both the House and Senate with a veto-proof majority, so unless lawmakers change their vote LePage’s veto won’t force the Legislature to, again, rewrite the bill.
LePage opposes two regulatory structures. According to his press secretary, Julie Rabinowitz, the governor wants to see the medical and recreational programs merged. Under the law approved by lawmakers, recreational cannabis products would be taxed 20 percent, while medical cannabis would be taxed 5.5 percent, with an 8 percent tax on medical cannabis edibles. State Rep. Teresa Pierce, the chair of the implementation committee, said that those tax structures were recommended by Maine Revenue Services, who report directly to the Republican governor.
“We worked very hard to create a bill that addressed the governor’s concerns, as well as those of our colleagues. Our bill has received strong support in both houses. I hope the governor will reconsider, but if he vetoes it, I’d hope that we can still count on their votes.” – Pierce to the Press Herald
If LePage vetoes the measure, it would be the second time. LePage vetoed the first implementation package last November citing the conflict of legalization with federal law, its compatibility issues with the state’s medical cannabis program, regulatory concerns, and the timeliness the regime would be rolled out.
If lawmakers can override the veto, the first retail licenses are set to be awarded in spring 2019.