Maine Endorses Bill, Moves Closer to Creating Recreational Marijuana Market

The overwhelming majority of Maine’s House of Representatives has endorsed on Tuesday a regulatory bill for the U.S. state’s future recreational marijuana market.

The Maine House of Representatives voted on Tuesday 112-34 in favor of the bill, clearing the first legislative hurdle.

Unlike its predecessor of last year, which failed to override Gov. Paul LePage’s veto, the new bill is considered to be more conservative, the Press Herald reported.

In comparison to last year, the new vote successfully has a veto-proof margin.

Rep. Teresa Pierce, the House chairman of the marijuana committee that wrote the bill, said:

“We worked hard to compromise and find common ground.”

“Our town officials, our local businesses, our parents and families and communities that each of us represents are all asking us to put a reasonable, highly structured regulatory system in place… They recognize the status quo just isn’t what we should be doing.”

Maine State House at Augusta, Maine. (File image via AP)

The new bill garnered some support from several hardline marijuana opponents. They voted in favor simply because they wanted to keep what they perceive as the unregulated black market in check.

“I did not support legalizing marijuana,” said Assistant House Minority Leader Ellie Espling, R-New Gloucester.

Espling added:

“I need this to be as strict and as stringent as possible. I need real protection in this for my family. I think Mainers are asking for that… As long as it is determined to be legal, I think we need it to be as strict as possible to protect our families.”