Maine Lawmakers Override Governor’s Veto Threat, Clearing Way for Marijuana Sales to Begin

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — The Maine Legislature has overridden Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s veto of a bill to finally allow commercial cannabis sales demanded by voters in 2016.

The Senate voted 28-6 and the House voted 109-39 Wednesday, May 2, 2018, to override LePage’s veto.

The governor argued that he can’t violate federal law and that adults will flock to Maine’s medical cannabis program. Possession of up to 2.5 ounces, or 71 grams, of marijuana already is legal in the state.

The bill eliminates marijuana social clubs, reduces the number of plants that people can have and prohibits sales near schools.

Under the bill, Maine could allow retail cannabis sales to adults as early as next year.

The voter-approved law, Question 1 — which narrowly passed on Nov. 8, 2016, with 50.26 percent support — created a 10 percent sales tax on retail cannabis. The bill would require growing facilities to pay an excise tax of $335 per pound of mature marijuana plants and other fees.

LePage received a “D-” grade on a recent report card from the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), which evaluated 50 US governors for the cannabis policies they enacted or vetoed, as well as statements they made about marijuana.