The Press Herald reports 2 May 2018
AUGUSTA — The Legislature on Wednesday overturned a veto by Gov. Paul LePage that would have again stalled the legal sale of recreational marijuana, moving Maine a major step closer to launching a legal retail market for the drug.
The House voted 109-39 and the Senate 28-6 to override LePage’s veto of cannabis legalization legislation, setting the state on a path to the legal sale and production of recreational marijuana some 18 months after voters approved legalization at the ballot box in November 2016. However, it will likely be the spring of 2019 before the first retail shops can open for business.
Now that the bill has passed, the state Department of Administrative and Financial Services must hire a consultant to help the state write more regulatory rules, including inspection and licensing of wholesale commercial growing facilities, licensing of retail sellers and collection of sales taxes. The rules will have to be approved by the next Legislature, which convenes in January.
The Republican governor, a steadfast opponent of legalization, had vetoed the Legislature’s first attempt at drafting a law to launch the retail market for cannabis in November. It’s not clear how quickly the state will move to hire workers to administer and enforce the new law, and seek bids to design a seed-to-sale tracking system that will be used to regulate the marijuana market.
Wednesday’s vote provoked mixed reactions, even among those who campaigned successfully to gather voter signatures and get the legalization question on the 2016 ballot.
David Boyer, Maine political director for the Marijuana Policy Project, said the bill includes provisions that the organization supports and others that it dislikes.
“Ultimately, we’re glad that the Legislature is moving towards a regulated marketplace,” he said. “We are approaching two years since Maine voters passed this and adults in Maine deserve a place to purchase marijuana legally.”
Ganjapreneur has just published a piece too