State lawmakers are launching a new effort to overhaul Maine’s recreational marijuana law in January, hoping to find a political compromise to avoid another gubernatorial veto.
The committee charged with launching the state’s commercial adult-use market already has reintroduced the bill that Gov. Paul LePage vetoed last month, changing just a few of the dates to reflect the delay caused by the veto. The committee will hold the first hearing on the bill on Jan. 5 and use that testimony to help decide what other parts of the old bill need to be changed, said Rep. Teresa Pierce, D-Falmouth, the committee’s House chair.
The committee didn’t want to start over from scratch, but members realize they must seek a compromise that LePage, who vetoed their last bill, and House Republicans, who sustained LePage’s veto, can tolerate, Pierce said. She and her co-chair, Sen. Roger Katz, R-Augusta, are scheduling a meeting now with the top House Republican, Rep. Ken Fredette of Newport, and even have reason to believe LePage is willing to talk with them.
“We wanted to get right back to work,” Pierce said. “Every day we delay is one more day the black market is thriving, one more day we’re not protecting our kids and one more day we are not giving our communities the direction they want. We must find compromise. It’s important that we are all at the table when we’re doing this work. It is the only way it can work.”
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