Maine lawmakers have overridden Gov. Paul LePage’s veto of the recreational cannabis implementation bill, setting the stage for sales to begin in early 2019, the Bangor Daily News reports. The House voted 109-39 while the Senate voted 28-6 to override the veto.
The re-written law is opposed by Legalize Maine. The measure makes significant changes to what the group drafted and what was, narrowly, approved by voters in 2016. The legislature removed language allowing social use clubs, cut home grow limits from six plants to three, increased the effective sales tax rate from 10 percent to 20 percent, and forces municipalities to opt-in before sales can commence in the city or town.
David Heidrich, a spokesman for the Department of Administrative and Financial Services suggested it would take “less than nine months” to finalize and implement the rules for the law, which would also need to be approved by the next legislature which will convene in January. Heidrich indicated the LePage administration will hire a consultant to assist with the rulemaking.
As passed, the measure does not cap the number of cannabis cultivation licenses in the state but, according to a Portland Press Herald report, for the first three years, the licenses will only be available to individuals who have lived and paid taxes in Maine for at least four years.