Maine House overturns governor's veto of marijuana bill

Maine House overturns governor's veto of marijuana bill

The Maine House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to override Gov. Paul LePage's (R) veto of a measure to allow the commercial sale of marijuana in the state. 

The House overrode the veto with a 109-39 vote, according to The Portland Press Herald. The bill now heads to the state Senate, where lawmakers must vote by a two-thirds margin to overturn LePage's veto. The newspaper previously reported that senators believe they have the support to overturn a veto.

The measure was crafted by a special legislative committee, and previously passed the House and Senate by wide margins. 

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LePage vetoed the measure, however, arguing that it would violate federal law. Nine states, including Maine, and the District of Columbia have moved to legalize recreational marijuana use, but the substance remains federally prohibited.

Although possession of recreational marijuana has been legal in Maine since 2016, there has been no process to legally sell it in the state.

LePage has also rejected the bill over concerns that legalizing an adult-use marijuana program would create a second set of regulations and taxes on the substance in addition to the state's existing medical marijuana program. 

The proposed law would get rid of marijuana social clubs and curb people's ability to grow marijuana on their own. Retailers would be allowed to sell to customers as early as next year. 

The House's override of the veto came as the state's legislature weighed about 20 vetos from the governor's office.