Last year, voters in Maine approved a ballot initiative that would legalize recreational marijuana in the state. Throughout 2017, lawmakers have worked to create a set of rules and regulations for the industry. But unfortunately the state's governor seems hellbent of delaying progress as much as possible.
Maine lawmakers passed a bill late last night that would allow the state to implement recreational marijuana in 2018. The bill includes a licensing system for cultivators, stores and manufacturers, establishes a 10 percent tax on marijuana and would also allow local municipalities to ban cannabis dispensaries in their jurisdictions.
Despite this marijuana bill being seemingly reasonable, it will most likely not become law. Maine Governor Paul LePage has promised to veto any recreational cannabis bill that does not delay implementation until 2019.
While he hasn't said anything specifically about the bill passed last night, it's unlikely LePage will sign it based on his past discussions about marijuana. He did not support the ballot initiative last fall, and has made several comments about his unwillingness to implement it. In July he even called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to initiate a crackdown on states with recreational marijuana.
It's actually somewhat bewildering that LePage is the governor of a state like Maine. In the past he's made statements implying that black men come to Maine to sell heroin and impregnate white women and compared removing Confederate statues to taking down 9/11 victim memorials. Those are straight up 1960s racist Alabama governor-type crazy statements.
Even if LePage continues to block recreational marijuana bills, his term as governor ends at the beginning of 2019, and he will hopefully be replaced by someone who's more open to implementing laws that the citizens of the state ask for.