Is The Governor of Maine Lightening Up His Anti-Weed Stance?

With the delay of a strict medical marijuana bill, we have to ask: is the governor of Maine lightening up his anti-weed stance?
Is The Governor of Maine Lightening Up His Anti-Weed Stance?

Is the governor of Maine lightening up his anti-weed stance? Republican Governor Paul LePage has just agreed to delay the implementation of tough new regulations for the state’s medical marijuana community. The proposed rules were scheduled to take effect February 1 but have been postponed until May instead.

New Regulations For Maine?

The new directives would have ended the manufacturing of cannabis products such edibles, tinctures and topicals. Unannounced inspections of caregivers and their operations would have also been permitted.

So is the governor of Maine lightening up his anti-weed stance? It doesn’t look like it. Governor LePage still wants stricter regulations. He’s just willing to wait to get them.

“While I believe strongly that the medical marijuana program needs improved and increased regulation, waiting until May to ensure we do not create unnecessary confusion and complication is a reasonable approach,” LePage said in a letter sent Wednesday to Representative Deborah Sanderson.

Representative Sanderson, also a Republican, serves on the Health and Human Services Committee of the Maine State Legislature. That committee, which is tasked with regulating medical marijuana, had requested the delay and was poised to pass a law that would do just that.

But the law would have failed to take effect before the impending regulations, making passage of the bill a moot point. The committee wants time to craft legislation that would address many of the same issues covered by LePage’s delayed rules.

New Rules Are Still Inevitable

Representative Sanderson made it clear that she was not trying to avoid regulation of the cannabis industry in Maine. “The program needs greater oversight. My request was not a way to avoid more regulation. I just want to do it in a thorough, thoughtful way,” she said.

She also noted that by investing the time and effort now, the government will be able to merge regulation of medical marijuana with the implementation of the legalization of recreational marijuana passed by Maine voters in 2016.

“I think it’s prudent to see what’s in the new rules, parse out what exactly the department was going for as far as oversight and bring industry standards to everyone, and that includes caregivers. That is not something we can just do. We have to hear from the department, the community.

It would be complicated enough on its own, but we also have to look for ways to dovetail some of the policy we are working on with what is going on with adult-use marijuana,” Rep. Sanderson said.

Final Hit: Is The Governor of Maine Lightening Up His Anti-Weed Stance?

LePage has been a staunch opponent of marijuana legalization. In November 2017 the governor vetoed a bill passed by the legislature that would have implemented a commercial adult-use cannabis market in Maine. The bill was intended to enact Question 1, a ballot proposal legalizing recreational marijuana use that was passed by voters in November 216.

Governor LePage defended that action by saying he had sought the advice of United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions while deciding what to do with the legislature’s bill.

“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,” the governor wrote in a letter explaining his veto.

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