Maine legislators reject recreational marijuana legalization

Lawmakers in Maine won’t get the ball rolling on recreational marijuana after all, meaning it will be up to advocates and business leaders to get a measure on the ballot.

The state Legislature on Monday crushed an attempt to refer a ballot question to voters that, if passed, would have approved adult-use marijuana.

The proposal for a referendum was killed on a 98-45 vote in the state House of Representatives and is expected to die similarly in the Senate, which unanimously axed a separate pro-legalization measure, according to the Bangor Daily News.

Supporters argued that by failing to get involved early in the regulatory stages, officials are losing out on a valuable opportunity to craft workable rules for an industry that many regard as inevitable.

Now, lawmakers will leave much of the decision making to legalization campaigns.

The Marijuana Policy Project and the grassroots group Legalize Maine are working to collect signatures for competing ballot measures that could potentially both be up for a vote in November 2016. Both groups need to turn in at least 62,000 signatures of registered voters in order to qualify for the ballot.