Last month, recreational marijuana laws passed on the ballot by a small margin in Maine. In fact, the margin was small enough to warrant a ballot by ballot recount. Knowing this, the state’s opponents of recreational marijuana pushed for a recount and claimed they wouldn’t drag it out. If the votes weren’t going in their favor, they promised to drop the recount. Fortunately, opponents decided not to steal Christmas from Maine voters. The “No on 1” group leading the Maine recount has officially dropped their recount efforts this past weekend. Marijuana legalization in Maine officially prevails.
“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,” said Newell Augur, attorney for the No on 1 campaign.
Tax Dollars Saved
Had the recount went all the way through, it would have cost an estimated $500,000. State troopers collected and delivered ballot boxes from different towns to state officials. So far, about 20% of the 760,000 votes have been received.
Due to the holidays, the recount is on hold until January. However, a review of 20% of the votes led opponents to believe the initial results were accurate. Maine’s legal cannabis is no longer in jeopardy.
“We are excited and grateful that the No on 1 campaign has decided not to drag this out any longer so we can start the business of implementation and responsibly regulate marijuana,” said David Boyer, manager of the Yes on 1 campaign.
When Will The Measure Go Into Effect?
The measure was supposed to go into effect on January 7. However, the recount will likely push this date back. There is still no exact date due to the delays.
The secretary of state must first certify the results, and that might take about a week. The measure should become legal 30 days after the governor affirms the results. So, January 7th is already not possible, but Boyer and the Yes on 1 campaign hope it happens “sometime in January.”
The delay caused concern among legalization supporters.
“Every day the implementation of this law is delayed there are adults out there who are subject to punishment for responsible use of marijuana,” said Alysia Melnick from the “Yes On 1” campaign. “And this delays responsible and effective implementation.”
Usually opponents of marijuana legalization like the DEA attempt to delay or prevent the legalization of all things cannabis. So, it’s refreshing to see opponents back off when they’ve got no real reason to continue.
After the recount had started, opponents received harsh criticisms for their action. Then, they kept their promise not to drag it out after having received the first 20% of the ballots. Kudos to the “no on 1” campaign for not being Scrooges this Christmas.
Maine should be seeing the implementation of their Question 1 measure later on in January. It won’t be long until Maine joins Massachusetts with legal weed on the East Coast.