Maine suspends marijuana ballot recount until new year

Just Released! Get realistic market forecasts, state-by-state insights and benchmarks with the new 2024 MJBiz Factbook member program, now with quarterly updates. Make informed decisions.

The ballot recount of Maine’s initiative to legalize recreational marijuana is on hold until 2017 to give legalization opponents time to mull whether they want to continue the tally.

With about 30% of the ballots counted, there was no significant change in the outcome of the Nov. 8 vote in favor of legalization, according to the Portland Press Herald.

Legalization would have gone into effect in the first week of January. But it will be delayed until either the opponents who demanded the recount throw in the towel or some 700,000 ballots in 500 municipalities are recounted.

“We are hoping they take some time for reflection given we’ve counted the towns they wanted and we really haven’t seen a statistical change in the results,” David Boyer, the campaign manager for Yes on 1, told the Portland Press Herald. “We hope they don’t drag this out any longer and delay implementation. This is proving to be a fruitless task.”

On Nov. 8, 2016, voters approved legalization of adult-use cannabis in the state by 4,073 votes – 381,692 to 377,619. The margin was less than 1%, so opponents who demanded the recount weren’t required to foot the cost.

The law would allow adults to own up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis and grow a specified number of plants. Retail stores and social clubs would also be legal. Those would probably have to wait until 2018 to open, once regulations are ironed out.

Maine’s Governor Paul LePage also recently said with adult-use marijuana the state could abolish its entire medical cannabis system, according to the Bangor Daily News.