The residents of Maine will receive legal access to recreational marijuana this month, as Gov. Paul LePage has finally approved its legalization in the state.
As indicated in a recent Twitter post of Maine’s secretary of state, they had obtained a signed proclamation from LePage dated Dec. 31, which put the ballot initiative Question 1 into effect starting Jan. 30.
Despite the positive outcome of the November voting, the state governor cast doubt on the referendum's results. When the pro-marijuana campaign requested a recount, it showed the same results of the voting. The cannabis opposition had to concede on Dec. 17.
While medical marijuana was legalized in the state in 1999, the adult use of cannabis had been under restriction until now.
According to the new law, Maine residents can grow and own a small amount of recreational marijuana. Moreover, it will soon be legal for adults to buy and sell cannabis, but the state must first create a proper regulatory system. Maine Public has already reported that this system is going to be finished in nine months, but some delays are also possible, as lawmakers may propose changes to the state law.
As per the legislation, a 10% tax is levied on all marijuana sales. Moreover, pot users are not allowed to consume weed in public places, only in the so-called cannabis “social clubs.” The state’s cities also have the right to impose their own limitations on marijuana companies.
LePage’s main concern over the cannabis initiative had been in the fact that recreational weed might increase the death rates among pets and kids who would be inclined to swallow pot edibles. That is why after the voting, LePage called in question the accuracy of the election results including the voter's response to the marijuana initiative. However, he had no choice but to approve the notion after the voting had been proven to be valid.
After the legalization of recreational cannabis in Massachusetts, California, and Nevada and its final approval in Maine, one in five Americans will get legal access to the drug, according to The Washington Post.
Marijuana is still prohibited by the federal government and is in the list of Schedule I drugs, which also includes such substances as heroin and ecstasy. However, the guidelines of the Department of Justice do not recommend legal prosecution of operations that comply with the state legislation.