Maine marijuana legalization opponents have given up their mission to recount all the votes that allowed recreational marijuana to be legalized. Last month, Question 1, a ballot that allowed residents to vote on Maine marijuana legalization, passed by a slim 4073 votes. Opponents of the proposition demanded a recount but then failed to provide the required volunteers and quickly saw that the recount would not change the results. The effort cost tax payers $15,000 but had it continued into next month it would have cost up to $500,000. Newell Augur, legal counsel for “No on 1” said, “We promised folks that if we came to a point where we could not see any chance of reversing the result, we would not drag the process out. We are satisfied that the count and the results are accurate.”
Early Results of the Recount
Supporters of Maine marijuana legalization kept a running tally of the votes counted and changed, posting updates to Facebook in order to keep Maine residents in the loop. On December 14th, 182,031 votes had been recounted and, of all of these, only 81 had been changed. This made the percentage of votes changed 0.044. This was clearly not enough to change the outcome of the vote.
Details of Maine Marijuana Legalization
The measure in Maine allows adults over the age of 21 to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana for personal use and it also allows adults to grow marijuana at home. Retail marijuana stores where people can go to purchase cannabis will be legal and so will marijuana social clubs where people can consume marijuana socially. Opponents of the proposition have promised to work closely with legalization groups in order to make sure they are happy with how the law will be implemented. David Boyer, campaign manager for “Yes on 1”, told Marijuana.com that it was clear that the recount was not going to change the result, stating, “We are grateful that the No on 1 campaign has conceded and look forward to working together towards a successful implementation of Question 1.”
The Next Step
The next challenge the “Yes on 1” group has is getting Gov. Paul LePage to certify the election results. The Governor has been vocally opposed to marijuana in the past, recently saying “We’ve got to get rid of medical marijuana.” The new law takes effect 30 days after the Governor signs the law in. Then the process for setting up the rules, requirements and regulations for the industry will begin. Once these are in place, entities may apply to join the industry and growing, testing, manufacturing and retail licenses will need to be approved and distributed. The process is a lengthy one and the sooner it begins, the better.
Maine was 1 of 4 states that voted to legalize recreational marijuana this November. California, Nevada and Massachusetts also ended prohibition bringing the number of legal states in the country up to 8, plus Washington D.C. This means that now 20 percent of the country has legalized recreational marijuana, a trend that only seems destined to grow in momentum. Maine residents can now relax knowing their place in the legal market is secure.