This afternoon, lawmakers in Maine will meet to discuss possibly overriding Governor Lepage’s veto on recreational marijuana sales.
The political drama in Maine over recreational marijuana could be taking another interesting turn today. State lawmakers are set to take on Governor Paul Lepage’s veto of recreational marijuana sales today.
While running for Governor in 2014, LePage said that he would respect the decision of voters if they approved legal marijuana. But last week he had a very different message.”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.”
Even if state lawmakers are unable to override LePage’s veto, the governor could be standing on shaky ground. He has now officially gone against his word and refused to implement a law passed by Maine residents.
House Minority Lead, Ken Fredette, a LePage supporter, feels that the February 1 deadline was not a realistic target for legal marijuana sales.
“Regardless of what action the Maine Legislature takes today regarding recreational marijuana, it’s simply not realistic to think that the necessary rules will be in place by February 1,” Fredette said in a prepared statement. “The Legislature needs to do the responsible thing and extend this moratorium today or as soon as we return for the new session beginning in January.”
But Senator Roger Katz, a Republican like LePage and Fredette feels the conversation about legalization is over and that its the responsibility of lawmakers to properly regulate the recreational marijuana industry.
“The legalization ship has sailed, the people have spoken,” Katz told the Press Herald last week. “It’s not about whether you voted for legalization. I certainly didn’t vote for it. But that’s not what the bill is about. This bill is about taxing and regulating a market that the majority of Maine voters want, just like we do with alcohol, with tobacco. If we do not pass this bill, if we go back to an unchecked black market, we will go back to chaos. Who could want that?”
Analysts estimate that the marijuana industry could be worth $325 million in Maine if recreational sales start.