Maine Governor LePage signs marijuana bill to become law

Posted by Sagar Satapathy on January 30, 2017.

Maine Governor LePage on Friday signed the marijuana moratorium bill into law, a day after the bill overwhelmingly passed in the legislature. The new marijuana will go into effect on Monday, without addressing concerns about oversight of marijuana sales in the state.

The initiative makes it legal for people Maine age 21 or over to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana for personal use and to keep, and cultivate up to six adult marijuana plants.  However, retail sales likely wouldn’t begin until the fall.

However, the moratorium bill delays other facets of the law. The bill closes a loophole, making it illegal for minors under 21 to possess and use marijuana. It also delays the implementation of a regulatory system for another three months. It is now set to be in place one year from now.

Earlier, LePage refused to sign the bill that sparked tension between the governor and lawmakers. On Friday, Democratic Rep. Louie Luchini of Ellsworth accused the Republican of putting his ego ahead of protecting Mainers by his inaction on the emergency legislation.

The Governor wants the liquor and lottery agency to regulate the retail sale of marijuana instead of the agricultural department. He also wants lawmakers to appropriate $1.6 million for rule-making.

In the November ballot last year, Maine voters approved Question 1, which legalized small amounts of marijuana for those over the age of 21 starting Jan. 30. The referendum passed 381,768-377,773. The State already had legalized medicinal marijuana.

The passage of the ballot question also sets the stage for marijuana-related businesses and social clubs to open. However, the state will need to develop rules before such entities can open.

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