Lawmakers react to Governor's plan to veto marijuana bill
PORTLAND (WGME) -- As recreational marijuana continues to move through the state house, Governor Paul LePage says he’ll veto the bill—even if it passes in the senate.
The Governor told CBS 13 on Friday it’s because of medical marijuana.
“My point is put it all under one. You don't need medical anymore. If marijuana is legal, you can have medical, agricultural, retail, you can make beer with marijuana if you want. If it's legal, it's legal - so why do you need to have medical?” Lepage said.
He said he believes people will just get medical marijuana to avoid paying the excise tax, but sponsors of the bill see things differently.
"I respectfully disagree with the governor that if this passes that it will somehow drive people to the medical market because of the tax structure we have,” said Republican Senator Roger Katz.
"I'm disappointed that he'll automatically veto it,” said Democratic Representative Teresa Pierce. Both legislators have worked on the bill and say they have met with a lot of stakeholders while putting it together, including the governor’s office.
"What it really does is protect kids, protect communities and protect Maine,” said Pierce.
Sponsors of the bill say medical marijuana needs to stay legal for the children who use the drug for therapeutic purposes.
"I think if we have a robust adult market up and running that people who choose to do it just as a recreational drug will move to that market,” said Pierce.
The bill passed by a large majority in the house this past week. The senate is set to vote this coming Tuesday and with a big enough majority—any veto would be overridden.