After weeks of debate, the fate of marijuana in Maine has been decided. Maine officially became the eighth state to legalize recreational marijuana. The new law takes effect the end of January.
Results That Were Too Close to Call
For weeks, the people of Maine waited while officials carefully recounted the votes. Although the election night results showed a margin greater than 4000 votes, opponents demanded a recount. A recount began, but in mid- December, Maine halted it to go on holiday break.
By that time, officials reported a 3995-vote margin in favor of ending prohibition. Then, instead of resuming the recount in January, opponents conceded.
Newell Auger, the legal advisor for Mainers Protecting Our Youth and Communities, explained the decision, “We are satisfied that the count and the result are accurate.” Some Maine residents believe it was because the recounting staff was tired.
The recount wasn’t completely in vain, however. Officials found voting errors in favor of the No’s, but there were not enough to change the results. The decision to legalize marijuana in Maine had won.
The Fight for Maine’s Medical Community
The formation of a recreational marijuana community is monumental for Maine, but not so much for its existing medical marijuana community. Maine’s patients are concerned, especially when their Governor, Paul LePage, said recreational marijuana would end the state’s medical marijuana program.
It is, therefore, no surprise that many of this vote’s opponents were patients and their advocates. The drama became greater when the Governor threatened not signing the bill into law. He debated the validity of the vote, and supported the recount.
With the recount now abandoned, the Governor must find more creative ways to stop the bill, if he is interested in doing so. Otherwise, the law takes effect the end of January.
How to Celebrate the Win
With all of the drama around marijuana’s close-call win, don’t expect cannabis stores to appear any time soon. If you want legal marijuana in Maine, your best bet is growing it yourself. The new law allows home growing of up to six plants. Get your seeds now, and you can be smoking it before you can buy it.