Maine governor vetoes voter-approved invoice to legalize leisure marijuana

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Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) on Friday vetoed a invoice that will legalize leisure marijuana, almost a yr after residents voted to arrange a system to promote and regulate the drug.

In a letter, LePage stated the legislation would arrange a bifurcated system of leisure and medical gross sales — that are authorized in Maine — of marijuana within the state. Allowing all adults to buy marijuana additionally would violate federal legislation, LePage stated. The governor stated that whereas the Obama administration stated it might not implement federal marijuana legislation, the Trump administration has stated it has issues about authorized marijuana. LePage stated he sought steering from Attorney General Jeff Sessions on the matter.

“Until I clearly understand how the federal government intends to treat states that seek to legalize marijuana, I cannot in good conscience support any scheme in state law to implement expansion of legal marijuana in Maine,” LePage wrote.

LePage wrote that if the state had been to create what quantities to a brand new business within the state, “we need badurances that a change in policy or administration at the federal level will not nullify those investments.”

The governor additionally cited the numerous impression of the opioid disaster within the state. Overdose deaths elevated for 5 straight years, hovering almost 40 p.c in 2016, when 378 folks died.

“The dangers of legalizing marijuana and normalizing its use in our society cannot be understated,” LePage wrote. “Sending a message, especially to our young people, that some drugs that are still illegal under federal law are now sanctioned by the state may have unintended and grave consequences.”

Maine residents had been requested in the event that they wished to legalize marijuana in a poll query final yr. The measure handed by solely about four,000 votes. The referendum known as for a gross sales and regulation system to be arrange by the tip of 2017.

The state legislature despatched LePage a invoice written by a particular committee final month.

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