Maine lawmakers overwhelmingly approved a medical cannabis reform bill on Monday in a sweeping override of Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s veto, the Press Herald reports.
The reforms will ease access to the program by allowing doctors to make cannabis recommendations for any condition that they think it might help, establishing six new medical cannabis dispensaries, permitting caregivers in the program to further expand their businesses, and giving municipalities some more local control over the industry.
The bill will become law 90 days after the end of Maine’s legislative session.
“Maine’s medical cannabis program is already one of the best in the country. The passage of L.D. 1539 will make it even stronger. More access and choice for patients. More flexibility for legal businesses. And more integrity to the overall program.” — State Sen. Eric Brakey (R-Auburn), co-chairman of the Health and Human Services Committee, via the Press Herald
Maine Gov. LePage is a longstanding opponent of cannabis reforms. He railed against the state’s cannabis legalization initiative when it appeared before voters in 2016 and, earlier this year, vetoed the regulations approved by state lawmakers to establish the adult-use industry; lawmakers also voted to override that veto.
Medical cannabis advocates rejoiced the legislature’s vote.
“Seeing the House vote unanimously for a bill you believe is an amazing feeling. Maine’s medical cannabis program has always been unique and it deserves to be protected. These bills create the structure that Maine’s patients, caregivers, dispensaries and medical professionals deserve.” — Amanda Melnick, a cannabis consultant, in the report