Earlier this month, Maine Governor Paul LePage vetoed a bill that would implement recreational marijuana in the state starting in 2018. And it turns out it wasn't just his own beliefs that led to that decision, but also those of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
LePage recently wrote a letter to explain why he vetoed the recreational marijuana bill passed by the Maine legislature. In the letter, LePage said he "sought guidance" from Sessions about "how the federal government intends to treat the legalization of marijuana by states across the nation." The governor did not divulge what the Attorney General told him, but whatever he said was enough for him to believe signing the bill was the wrong idea.
"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 wrote.
Of course, this could be LePage simply saving face for this controversial decision. Last fall, Maine voters passed a ballot initiative to legalize recreational marijuana, and LePage almost immediately indicated he would have no part in implementing the bill. And throughout 2017 he insisted he would not pass a bill that would institute the new law. So it seems that LePage didn't necessarily seek out Jeff Sessions for guidance as much as he did for an excuse he could use later to justify his boneheaded decision.
While it seems unlikely that LePage will ever sign a recreational marijuana bill into law, he can't stop the movement forever. Next fall Maine will elect a new governor to take over in January 2019, and that person will almost certainly be more open to implementing the law than LePage.
And let's hope this is the last governor to ask Sessions for anything resembling advice.