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State lawmakers unanimously pass marijuana moratorium

AUGUSTA (WGME) – Governor LePage says he will not sign or veto a new marijuana bill, a bill approved unanimously by the House and Senate Thursday.

They're trying to create new rules around legal pot, and say their hands are tied until the governor takes action.

After a half hour meeting with legislative leaders, the governor told them he may use all ten days at his disposal to make a decision.

His issues came from a lack of funding for implementation and regulation.

“So let's take action, I’m ready,” LePage said. “In fact I got a pen with me now and I'll sign it in the car if they can call it back and fix it.”

The pen stayed in the pocket as Governor LePage left the State House Thursday night. On Monday, marijuana will become legal in Maine for adults.

Maine legislators unanimously passed a bill Thursday that puts new regulations on legal pot. It would make it illegal for children to have the drug, illegal to smoke in a car, among other new rules. The governor has 10 days to decide if he's going to sign or veto the law, and he says he may use all 10.

Earlier Thursday an amendment to the bill was voted down. It provided $1.6 million for marijuana regulation and moved oversight from the Department of Agriculture to the Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Oversight. The governor says he won't take action without the amendment.

"All they need to do is give me direction,” LePage said. “And give me money so we can get experts that know about writing rules for marijuana, they don’t want to do that."

It's a decision that House Speaker Sara Gideon says goes against the will of both House and the Senate.

“The people in the legislative body did their job, took it very seriously, our responsibility is greater than any grievances we have with each other, and my feeling is the governor is not fulfilling his responsibility to the people of the state right now," Gideon said.

But the governor says for lawmakers to make the Monday deadline, they'll have to take action first.

"They can recall it off my desk and fix it Monday, fix it Friday, they can fix it Saturday,” LePage said. “If it’s this important, they need to call themselves in tomorrow."

The governor now has 10 days to sign or veto. The marijuana measure becomes law on Monday, including possession and cultivation.

Current Legal Marijuana Rules from Ballot:

Personal Marijuana Use and Possession

Allows use and possession of marijuana by people 21 years of age or older

  • Can possess or transport 2.5 ounces of marijuana
  • Can possess six flowering plants, 12 immature marijuana plants and unlimited seedlings at a person’s residence
  • Can buy up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and accessories from a retail marijuana store
  • Can buy up to 12 marijuana seedlings or immature plants from a retail marijuana cultivator
  • Marijuana still prohibited wherever tobacco is prohibited
  • Marijuana and marijuana products will have a 10% sales tax

Marijuana Retail Store: Can only sell marijuana or marijuana products. Does not allow vending machines. They can’t market to people under 21-years-old.

Marijuana Social Club: Can only consume marijuana on site, much like a bar. Employees will be required to check IDs.

Regulation

  • Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry
  • Dept. will issue licenses for marijuana retail stores and social clubs
  • Municipalities must also approve licenses, and can regulate “time, manner, and place” of retail stores and social clubs

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