Future of new Maine marijuana law uncertain after lawmakers send bill to gov’s desk

Maine Republican and Democratic lawmakers have voted in a legislative special session to rewrite the state’s recreational marijuana law.

However, the Legislature’s votes are not enough to withstand a veto from Republican Gov. Paul LePage.

The Senate voted 22-9 Monday night on a bill backed by the Legislature’s marijuana implementation committee. The House voted 81-50 on a final vote.

The committee has been working for months on a plan that would allow municipalities to opt-in to the state’s recreational pot market, with sales expected to start in 2019. The bill also makes other changes, like adding an excise tax to the existing 10 percent sales tax on recreational marijuana.

Republican Sen. Roger Katz said the bill makes important tweaks to the voter-approved law such as prohibiting drive-thru pot sales. Republican Sen. Scott Cyrway said marijuana is not safe to the public and allowing it to remain legal puts the state on the brink of a disaster.

In the House, Republican Rep. Patrick Corey said he’s concerned the pot committee’s bill won’t provide enough tax revenue to cover the state’s implementation’s costs.

The bill now heads to the governor’s desk for consideration.

Last week, LePage had proposed simply delaying pot sales until 2019 to give lawmakers more time to rework the committee’s proposal. The House voted to indefinitely postpone such a plan.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.