This is not a huge surprise but it still angers Mainers who exercised their rights in November 2016 and voted to legalize adult-use cannabis.
Governor Paul LePage, a staunch opponent of marijuana who has been called the “worst governor in America” for his right-wing decisions and outbursts, said he doesn’t want Maine to operate two different marijuana programs – medical and recreational – with two different tax rates and sets of rules, etc. So, don’t. Take the opportunity, act like a mature state official, and develop a viable legal process. Other states have done it.
Naturally, the Republican governor used the tired “I can’t in good conscience support a law that violates Federal law” argument while also raising concerns about impaired driving – although he did not offer any data to support his claim that car accidents have increased.
Lawmakers who support the compromise adult-use bill are hoping they have enough votes to override LePage’s veto.
Although the bill passed in April with veto-proof margins in the House and the Senate, LePage’s veto could erode that margin, especially among House Republicans, who are leading the effort to sustain his veto of the first adult-use market bill.
One wonders if Governor LePage was tuned in to a recent CNN Special in which Dr. Sanjay Gupta explored the concept that medical cannabis could help solve or ease the opioid epidemic.
If he wasn’t, perhaps he should have been.
Maine is one of the most problematic states in the country in terms of opioid addiction.
The Maine Attorney General’s Office reported several months ago that 418 people died from overdoses in 2017. That’s an 11 percent increase over 2016, and the number has been climbing sharply for the past five years. Maine’s population is 1.3 million.
Legislators return to Augusta on Wednesday, the capital, to take up the bills LePage has vetoed.
Stay tuned to see if Maine can get its legalization bill back on track where it belongs…