AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Almost a year to the day after Maine voters decided to legalize marijuana, the Legislature on Monday found out it still cannot take the final step to make legalization happen. Lawmakers failed to override Governor LePage's veto of the bill. The vote was 74-62, well short of the two-thirds majority needed to override.
Most House Republicans appeared to agree with the Governor, voting to sustain the veto. House GOP leader Rep, Ken Fredette said they want to see changes in the tax portion of the marijuana plan, as well as portions dealing with medical marijuana. They also appeared to support the Governor, who said he wants to see clear guidance from the Trump Administration on how it intends to treat states that have legalized pot, which is still illegal under federal law.
Most Democrats supported the bill. Rep. Teresa Pierce, co-chair of the 'Marijuana Legalization' committee, said she was "very disappointed" by the failure to override the veto. Pierce said the package had been a long and detailed compromise, and questioned whether they could reach another compromise that also addresses the GOP complaints.
That process will begin in January, if not before, as Legislators continue to try to craft a package that will gain enough Republican votes to pass and overcome another potential veto. But even if they are able to achieve that, there appears to be general agreement that the legal sale of marijuana could be as much as a year away. Several state agencies still need to develop the detailed rules to manage the program, but lawmakers said that process could take much of next year to complete. And they say the agencies won't begin working on the rules until a final bill has been passed and signed, or a veto overridden.