Maine governor vetoes bill legalizing marijuana

Maine governor vetoes bill legalizing marijuana

Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) dealt a major blow to marijuana advocates in his state on Friday when he moved to veto legislation that would have regulated and taxed the sale of recreational marijuana. 

"Until I clearly understand how the federal government intends to treat states that seek to legalize marijuana, I cannot in good conscience support any scheme in state law to implement expansion of legal marijuana in Maine," LePage wrote in a letter to Maine lawmakers.

"We need assurances that a change in policy or administration at the federal level will not nullify those investments," he continued. 

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Pro-legalization advocates were quick to blast LePage's move, which some viewed as undemocratic. 

"Maine should be looking at ways to expeditiously implement a robust legalization program that represents what state voters approved at the ballot box," National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws spokesman Erik Altieri told CNN. 

LePage is the second governor in the state to veto legalization legislation. 

The legislation was able to pass the state Senate with a veto-proof majority, however, it failed to gain one in the legislature's lower chamber. 

Lawmakers will gather on Monday to discuss overriding the governor's veto, according to CNN.

The development comes roughly a year after voters in the state narrowly passed a ballot measure that allowed the use of recreational marijuana. 

Maine joins six Western states and neighboring Massachusetts in allowing adults over the age of 21 to possess and consume marijuana for recreational purposes.