Augusta, ME: Lawmakers on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly to override Republican Gov. Paul LePage's veto of LD 1719; the enactment of the legislation establishes a framework for the retail sale of marijuana to adults, but also amends numerous provisions of a 2016 voter-approved measure - including those specific to home grow limits and taxation.
Specifically, LD 1719 limits the number of mature plants an adult may cultivate at home from six to three. The measure also repeals language permitting the establishment of social-use facilities, and increases the excise tax rates on the sale of wholesale marijuana products. It also makes it easier for communities that wish to enact local moratoriums prohibiting the establishment of adult use retail facilities the ability to do so.
However, the measure also permits state regulators for the first time to move forward with the establishment of rules permitting the commercial production and retail sale of cannabis to adults. Legislators anticipate that it will be until 2019 before these facilities are operational.
Governor LePage, an ardent opponent of the 2016 initiative, vetoed LD 1719 last week, opining that he, "in good conscience cannot support a law that, on its face, violates federal law." The Governor had previously vetoed a less conservative implementation bill last November. That bill did not amend home cultivation limits and did not outright ban social use establishments.
NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano expressed mixed emotions about the law's passage. "On the one hand, we are grateful that regulators can now - after months of undue delay - finally begin moving forward with the process of licensing adult use marijuana sales and regulating this retail market. On the other hand, it is unfortunate that lawmakers felt it necessary to amend and repeal other important provisions of Question 1, the Marijuana Legalization Act, in what ultimately was a futile effort to curry favor with the Governor," he said. "At the end of the day, this measure is far from consistent with the language that the majority of voters approved at the ballot box."
For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500.