Paul LePage, Governor of Maine (Robert F. Bukaty, The Associated Press)

Maine gov signs bill delaying retail sales of marijuana

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine Gov. Paul LePage has signed a bill to delay portions of Maine’s legal marijuana law.

Related: Legal marijuana in Maine in limbo while gov and legislature come to terms

LePage signed the bill on Friday night. It will still become legal to possess and grow marijuana in the state on Monday. But the bill delays any retail sales of marijuana until as far away as Feb. 1, 2018.

LePage initially refused to sign the bill, which 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.

Without a delay, the marijuana legalization referendum would have gone into effect Monday without addressing oversight of marijuana sales or closing a loophole allowing Mainers under 21 to possess the drug.