Maine Governor Vetoes Retail Legalization Implementation

Republican Gov. Paul LePage today vetoed legislation that sought to regulate the production and sales of cannabis to adults. Members of the House and Senate approved the legislation late last month during a one-day special session, but did so without a veto-proof majority. (Members of the Senate voted 22-9 in favor of the bill. Members of the House voted 81-50 in favor of the bill.)

[11/6/17 UPDATE: Members of the House of Representatives voted to let Gov. LePage’s veto stand. Some House lawmakers are further calling for legislators to extend the existing moratorium on retail sales beyond February 1, 2018.]

LePage said, “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.”

The Governor’s veto reverses a campaign pledge where he indicated that he would support the enactment of adult use regulation if it was approved by a voter referendum.

A majority of Maine voters decided last November in favor of a statewide initiative legalizing the adult use, retail production, and licensed sale of marijuana. Governor LePage lobbied against the measure and in January lawmakers passed emergency legislation delaying the enactment of many of its provisions until February 2018. Since that time, the Governor has refused to work with lawmakers with regard to how to regulate marijuana sales and other provisions of the law. The Governor did endorse legislation that sought to delay any further implementation of the law until 2019, but lawmakers defeated that measure.

The Governor’s veto, if not overridden by lawmakers, will further delay the ability of legislators to regulate the commercial cannabis market in a manner that comports with the voters’ mandate.

NORML Political Director Justin Strekal called the Governor’s actions “disappointing but hardly surprising.”

He said: “A majority of Maine voters decided in favor of regulating adult marijuana use and strong majorities of both the House and Senate approved legislation to implement this mandate. It is unwise for the Governor to stand in the way of this progress.”

He added: “It makes no sense from a political, fiscal, or cultural perspective for Gov. LePage to try to put this genie back in the bottle. It is time that he look to the future rather than to the past, and take appropriate actions to comport Maine’s marijuana laws and regulations with majority public opinion and the plant’s rapidly changing legal and cultural status.”

NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri went further: “Governor LePage’s veto is just the latest in a line of anti-democratic attacks coming from his office and his stonewalling will only ensure the prolonged existence of a criminal black market in Maine and deny the state coffers of needed tax revenue. Maine should be looking at ways to expeditiously implement a robust legalization program that represents what state voters approved at the ballot box.”

Presently, adults may legally possess, consume, and cultivate personal use quantities of cannabis, but no regulations exist governing its retail production or sale.

0 thoughts

  1. Impeach that ignorant SOB. The people of Maine voted for MJ legalization in a ballot initiative that needed NO politicians involvement whatsoever. Then this axx hole “governor” wants to throw a wrench into it just because of his fxcked up beliefs.

    1. This guy is such a piece os sh.. .He is taking away our rights. We majority voted for this just like we voted his dumb azz in office. In my opinion he is abusing his power and she at the least never be were we thinking..

    2. We saw how well this worked in Montana. After a few years the people made their position clear: Montana is a medical marijuana state and that access to the cannabis cannot be wrapped up in prohibitionist red tape.

      I have little doubt in a few years Maine will mirror this pattern. It’s unfortunate that lawmakers have this ability to undo direct democracy, but democracy will succeed nonetheless.

  2. I don’t regret a dollar I invested in the Mane Campaign. And I live in Texas!

    Question; if the state legislature voted to approve marijuana legalization, can’t that be used as evidence in Federal court against the scheduling of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act? Doesn’t the majority of voters and legislature’s majority count in court as legislatively enacted recreational marijuana legalization despite the governor’s veto?

      1. This issue can’t be taken to a federal level due to the fact that this is a state legislation discussion and Vito you said that you were from Texas so I would think you would understand how the States legislation Works different from state to state hence the term State legislation totally not trying to be a jerk I really appreciate anyone who is helping the cause I just thought maybe that would help if not you can write back and tell me I’m an a****** other than that have a great day thank you

      2. Haha… no, I do not think you are an a$$#0!e whatsoever. But you are misunderstanding the law.

        What I was referring to are a variety of active Federal Court cases such as Washington v. Sessions that are challenging the constitutionality of the entire federal scheduling of marijuana. Federal judges rely on state and federal legislatively enacted marijuana legalization to make their decisions. Lately, states like Massachussetts and Maine that have voter initiated marijuana law have had their state legislatures modify the voter initiated law. As a result, Federal and Supreme Court Justice Courts are making landmark decisions in favor of legalization such as the Barbuto v. Advantage Sales & Marketing case that shot down the supremacy clause to award the plaintiff damage$ for being fired for off the job medical marijuana consumption. In other words states got greedy, modified our voter initiatives to stop or slow down legalization and gave state legalization exactly what we needed… legislatively enacted marijuana law. When a majority of states do this federal law gets Trumped. Even the watered down CUA law in Texas means the state recognizes marijuana as medicine. Hence, why is marijuana in schedule 1?

        Granted the “enacted” part was vetoed in Maine, but the majority of citizens and legislature voted for recreational legalization. My question is if that still counts as evidence in a federal court. That is up to a Federal Judge.

      3. Good gosh! You are much more knowledgeable than me! Right on…thanks for the education ???

    1. No. Not for descheduling entirely. However the fact that more than half the states recognize that marijuana has medical use already violates the schedule 1 status.

      However, simply because states legalize recreational use does not in itself solve the question of potential for abuse.

      Indeed, the way that the CSA is written marijuana probably does qualify since there is no provision for actual social cost. Of course, so would ethanol, nicotine, caffeine and thanksgiving turkey under the criteria that would place a drug as Schedule 1 – again, because there is no provision for if the drug is actually dangerous or not.

      In fact, there is no clear definition for ‘potential for abuse’ or ‘recognized medical use’.

      The list is largely arbitrary responses to whatever cultural values exist at the time. Some, if not most, drugs on the list are dangerous and should be regulated (though locking up users is a waste of everyone’s time, and not in keeping with the role of federal authority) while others, and arguably many, are not.

      Ultimately it’s up to lawmakers to deschedule.

  3. Disappointing, but not surprising, considering the fact that Gov. LePage is a big fan of Trump and his overt racist behavior. LePage considers Trump a political soulmate, and has a well-established history of racism and bigotry himself!

    And of course, Trump and Sessions are known and self-identified enemies to marijuana legalization.

  4. Too bad real people with real medical conditions will have to wait in order to satisfy LePage’s ideological and political ideals. Typical of most conservatives. They rationalize hurting people. They are sinply mean.

  5. So LePage flat doesn’t care what the voters decided. He’s shown us that he’s an opportunist and a liar. I will celebrate the day he’s out of office, as I will Christie and Susana Martinez.

    What the hell is up with Americans that they keep voting in these assholes?

  6. So marijuana is still legal? It is just the regulatory effort that the governor vetoed? I would be fine with a legal, unregulated market.

    1. You’re right, the post is a little unclear. It says “Presently, adults may legally possess, consume, and cultivate personal use quantities of cannabis, but no regulations exist governing its retail production or sale.” But that doesn’t mean there’s a legal, unregulated market. It means the only market is illegal. There would only be a legal market at all if the regulations were approved.

      1. Here is an excerpt fron Portland Press Herald:

        The path forward for the ballot-box law remains unclear, with the current moratorium on recreational sales expiring Feb. 1. The Legislature reconvenes in January and could pass legislation then, but it’s uncertain whether the political dynamic will change enough in the next two months for an implementation law to be passed or the moratorium to be extended. If neither occurs, the ballot box law would take effect, a prospect that some lawmakers find alarming.

        “I feel like we legalized gasoline, but not gas stations,” said Rep. Martin Grohman, a Biddeford independent.

        Sen. Roger Katz, R-Augusta, co-chairman of the special legislative committee that wrote the implementation bill, is unsure what the next steps will be.

        “You know, 74-62 is a good victory in a basketball game, but it’s not enough to overcome a veto,” Katz said after the House vote. “We will regroup and we will sit around and try to figure out where the heck we go from here, and I hope somebody has some bright ideas because right now I don’t have any.”

  7. In a matter of time, it will be back to: “If the police officer says you have mariHuana on y0u, just turn around, put your hands behind your back and do NOT resist. MarijuHana is an illegal and dangerous drug. You NEED help. That marijuana is bad news. Gov. Lepage strikes once again.

    I may be in MI, but I stand EMPOWERED with my friends in Colorado, Vegas, Cali.

    Stand for legalization, EVERYWHERE. This madness has to stop.

    Btw, I have already written Gov. Lepage.

    The old man needs to wake up to 2017.


      1. I don’t know about you, but I HATE


        when the DELIBERATELY spell marijuana as


        Like nothing is ever going to change. In the eyes of the law, TECHINICALLY….if you even use marijuana, you are basically, by default, a felon. People don’t realize it is considered by the Feds a FELONY drug. Prison time.

        I hate that, in court docs. when the police and prosecutors still refer to it as….MariHUAAAANA. Tell us we ‘NEED’ treatment. Same problem in rehabs these days. Still saying listen to Big Pharma, and that marijuana is bad, and ‘just another excuse.’

        Even our rehabs are messed up these days. They are anti-legalization, and some of them don’t seem to give a dam about patients, ESPECIALLY, those court-ordered to attend.


      2. and everytime you try and speak up, speak out, they declare you an agitator, instigator, and you get thrown out, violate probation, thrown in jail.

        In rehab, discuss legalization at your own risk.

        Because, to our broken system, cannabis is still considered BAD.

  8. Demand a recall of this man. If he refuses to uphold the will of the people he should be removed from office, period.

  9. If a governor’s decision can be challenged I hope that it will be. Bad decisions like that will also get him unpopular among voters. Maine voters choose to legalize, so there will be a lot of unhappy voters out there. Even if they don’t throw him out, he won’t last in office with those kind of dumb decisions.

    But I guess you need something getting started first, before something is at least done. I hope, it gets to be a federal case taking Marijuana off the list off theirs, is what I hope will happen. But with Jeff Sessions in there, it will not be easy. It is possible we will have to deal with that ahole for awhile yet. Hopefully 2020, we’ll have someone running the country that will put a federal stop to it. No longer on the Federal Government’s Hot List Of Drugs.

    As a matter a fact, decriminalize other drugs, and then treat it like some sort of public health problem. Don’t give them Jail, give them rehab. Weed Tax would probably more than pay for the rehabs.

    Encourage people to rehab, without fear of arrest. Fined, encouraged to rehab, and left alone. Cut people a break, many of these people went into their addiction through legal opioids. Anyway… Peace out.

  10. I feel bad for the residents of Maine who worked long hours and spent their hard-earned money to get their state legalization efforts recognized only to be stunned by this “slap in the face”. If we might only have some federal guidance on marijuana many of our problems would certainly be relieved.

    1. Federal guidance? Sessions has been vocal regarding his opposition to marijuana legalization. No mystery there. There will be no help from Trump, if that’s what you mean!

  11. In Maine, the term length for Governor is four years, and each individual is limited to no more than two consecutive terms. LePage was elected in 2010, beginning his first term in January, 2011. His replacement will be elected in approximately one year from now. He’ll be out of office as of January, 2019.


    By the time this posts we’ll know if the state legislature came up with enough votes to override LePage’s veto. The legislature has until midnight tonight to come up with 11 more votes in the House to get the 3/4 majority. Call your State Congressman to find out how they voted.
    Project SAM is behind stopping legislatively enacted marijuana legalization, which this woud be considered since the state legislature intervened on voter initiated law.
    Regardless, even without a 3/4 majority, and despite the veto the majority of the legislature already voted in favor of recreational marijuana legalization. Lets see how this fact holds out in court.

    1. @ Julian,
      First let me say, the biggest problem with the Trumpanzees is obviously Trump himself, and the entire shit-show he brings along with him.

      Having said that, what really pisses me off the most, when dealing with these Trump supporters, these Trumpanzees, is that they will never answer your question, or acknowledge your point, or provide any intellectually honest response of any kind to your calling them out.

      They simply walk away, done with that particular line of bullshit, realizing it’s going no further and worth no further personal investment on their part. Never ones to let the facts constrain their thinking, they simply ignore them and walk away.

      Will that pussy MSimon come on this blog, and admit he fucked up, or at the very minimum, admit that soul-mates Trump and LePage fucked up? Hell no. How about MAGA-man? Or any of the others? Hell no. I’ll eat my hemp hat.

      So yeah, that annoys me, they’re such intellectual non-entities. Like arguing with your TV set!

      1. Mark, your comment about their never answering your questions is right on the money.

        I suspect many Trump supporters are Libertarians, and anti-government types. They hate govt and govt services (except, of course, the military), but when pressed as to how one can run a society without govt, or almost no govt, all you hear from them is crickets. It’s like they want desperately to return to the Middle Ages, when the only govt around were lords and dukes–surrounded by peasants. I think Trump fits that role for them–a strong, independent duke who pursues only his own interests, then showers the peasants with fake praise and promises.

        During the Middle Ages there was no public education, almost no social services–and a level of poverty that we can barely imagine today. Yet, they seem to embrace that, as if it’s somehow noble to live like that.

        I used to point out to them, on this forum, that they should consider moving to Somalia, where there was a very weak central govt, and along with that few paved roads, stop signs, street lights, public libraries, etc–and of course never got replies. It seems half of them read Ayn Rand, or heard about her views, but never really considered the consequences of her views.

        Those same people refused to support Prop 19 back in 2010–their reasons were very libertarian–they complained that you could grow only so many plants under that legislation, they complained about the taxation of MJ and regulation, etc etc etc.

        And because of their “principles” I can only guess how many people went to jail in CA between 2010 and 2016 for MJ. A very selfish attitude on their part. Very Libertarian attitude.

    2. I think that LePage and Trump are cut from the same cloth. They’re both simple-minded blowhards, and both deeply racist. The problem for us and our country is that too many people love “strong” men running things; it makes ’em feel secure, tho it’s of course false security. It’s almost astonishing how quickly Trump will throw someone under the bus, just to salve his own hide. I suspect LePage is similar.

      But time is not on their side. Just as we shed Christie and (next year) Susana Martinez, so will we shed LePage. And I will spark a J over their figurative graves.

      1. Happy New Year to that brother. The Fat Bastard can spend the rest of his years scorned by a society with legalized marijuana.

      2. Julian, you know it irks that Fat Bastard that his replacement is gung-ho for legalization. Except for a long prison sentence over his role in Bridge Gate, I can’t think of a more fitting exit for his tenure as Gov. One fewer prohibitionist asshole with which to contend.

        On an unrelated note, Julian, I saw your post about your mother’s condition–so sorry to hear about that. You both have my deepest sympathies.

Leave a Reply