Gov. Paul LePage plans to veto the recreational marijuana bill once it reaches his desk because it wouldn’t combine Maine’s medical and adult-use marijuana programs.
The two-term Republican doesn’t want two regulatory systems and tax structures for different uses of the same plant, according to his press secretary, Julie Rabinowitz.
“He was very explicit about problems with having two regulatory systems and tax structures,” Rabinowitz said of LePage’s opposition.
Lawmakers who support the compromise adult-use bill hope they will have enough votes to override LePage’s veto. The bill passed with veto-proof margins in the House and the Senate last week, but a veto could erode that margin, especially among House Republicans, who last year led the effort to sustain LePage’s veto of the first adult-use market bill. The new bill will land on LePage’s desk this week. He has 10 days to finalize his veto.
“We worked very hard to create a bill that addressed the governor’s concerns, as well as those of our colleagues,” said Rep. Teresa Pierce, D-Falmouth, the House chairwoman of the committee that wrote the adult-use bill. “Our bill has received strong support in both houses. I hope the governor will reconsider, but if he vetoes it, I’d hope that we can still count on their votes.”
LePage has been pushing more consolidation of the medical and recreational industries. If the pending adult-use bill becomes law, Maine would tax recreational cannabis at an effective rate of 20 percent while taxing medical marijuana at a much lower rate of 5.5 percent, or 8 percent for medical edibles. LePage believes the tax differential would encourage recreational marijuana users to use medical marijuana instead of the adult-use market to save money.
But Pierce notes the adult-use bill adopts a tax structure recommended by Maine Revenue Services, a division of