Maine passes recreational marijuana bill, but gov may veto

Maine lawmakers approved a bill to regulate the state’s recreational marijuana industry late Monday night that now heads to the governor, who has 10 days to sign the legislation, veto it or let it pass into law without signing it.

Republican Gov. Paul LePage has threatened to veto any legislation that doesn’t delay until 2019 the start of adult-use marijuana sales, TV station WGME reported.

Under the legislation, a statewide moratorium on the adult-use program would expire in February 2018. Municipalities could opt out of the market and implement their own moratorium beyond the February expiration date, WGME reported.

The new legislation – a rewrite of the measure that Maine voters approved last November – also creates a state licensing system for cultivators, retailers and marijuana product manufacturers, according to WGME.

In addition, the bill:

  • Establishes a 10% sales tax and an excise tax based on weight for wholesale sales between cultivators and retailers.
  • Permits municipalities to prohibit marijuana businesses.
  • Allows for cannabis social clubs, though they won’t be permitted to open until 2019.

The bill, LD 1650, was crafted over a period of nearly eight months by a Marijuana Legalization Implementation Committee and passed in Monday’s special one-day session.