As expected, Maine Gov. Paul LePage has vetoed the legislature-approved adult-use cannabis implementation measure, 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.
“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,” LePage, a Republican, wrote in his veto message. “If we are adopting a law that will legalize and establish a new industry and impose a new regulatory infrastructure that requires significant private and public investment, we need assurances that a change in policy or administration at the federal level will not nullify those investments.”
David Boyer, the Marijuana Policy Project Maine political director and campaign manager for the 2016 Yes on 1 campaign, called the governor’s decision a “mistake.”
“Instead of a regulated and controlled system of marijuana cultivation and sales, Maine will continue to support the unregulated market,” he said in a statement. “In 2014, the governor said he would implement a legalization law if approved by voters, but he has failed to uphold that commitment.”
Boyer notes that Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, also a Republican, campaigned against the legalization efforts in that state in 2016 but has since “respected the outcome and moved forward with implementation of the law.”
“It is unfortunate that Gov. LePage has not done the same,” Boyer added. “Seven other states have passed legalization initiatives over the past five years, and none have seen this type of obstructionism from their governors.”
LePage claims to have reached out to Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, who he said was “adamant” Maine should learn from other states that have pursued legalization.
Lawmakers are expected to vote on an override, potentially later today.
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