Maine is home to arguably the worst Governor in the United States when it comes to cannabis policy. Fortunately, Maine’s Governor doesn’t have the final say.
Lawmakers in Maine recently passed a bill that would significantly expand patients’ access to medical cannabis.
LePage listed 11 reasons for the veto which were more akin to an airing of cannabis reform grievances than anything else.
Examples of the ‘issues’ cited by Governor LePage included concerns about the establishment of a medical cannabis research fund as well as the licensing of ‘dangerous’ extract facilities.
Fortunately for the suffering patients of Maine, the bill will still become law despite Governor LePage’s veto.
Compassion still wins!
In truly inspiring fashion lawmakers in Maine moved to override Paul LePage’s veto of the medical cannabis expansion bill.
Maine’s House voted 119 to 23 to override the veto, and the Senate voted 25 to 8 to do the same.
The overwhelming passage in both chambers of Maine’s Legislature sent a clear message to the Governor’s office that compassion is greater than his reefer madness.
Governor LePage may not like it, but the bill is going to go into effect 90 days from the last day of the 2018 legislative session.
What will the soon-to-be-effective Maine medical cannabis bill do?
The new bill will do the following when it takes effect:
- Doctors can recommend cannabis for any patient for whom they believe it will help
- Expands the total number of licensed medical cannabis dispensaries from 8 to 14
- Dedicates funding for medical cannabis research
- Allows caregivers to oversee multiple patients
- Licenses cannabis extraction facilities
It is estimated that there are currently 42,000 medical cannabis patients in Maine. The new changes will no doubt increase that number significantly.
This is not the first override of LePage’s anti-cannabis actions
In November 2017 Governor LePage vetoed a bill that would have created a regulated adult-use cannabis industry in Maine.
Maine’s lawmakers were unable to successfully override the veto. However, they were able to come back the next session and pass another regulation bill.
That second adult-use regulation bill was also vetoed, but the second time around Maine lawmakers were able to override the veto.
Maine legalized cannabis for adult-use in November 2016 but has yet to launch an adult-use industry.
California and Nevada, who also legalized cannabis in 2016, have already launched legal adult-use sales.
Massachusetts has not launched legal adult-use sales yet, but the first legal sale is expected very soon.