The Associated Press declared victory for Maine’s Question 1, but some state officials want a second opinion.
On Election Tuesday, nine states had marijuana measures on the ballot. Of those nine states, seven had passed marijuana legalization in some form by Wednesday morning. The remaining two states, Arizona and Maine, are still up in the air, though the two measures most likely face opposite fates; Arizona is still wading through over 100,000 absentee ballots but nearly 75 percent of them would need to vote “yes” on Prop 205 for marijuana legalization to pass. On the other hand, supporters of Maine’s Question 1, a measure that will legalize and regulate marijuana for recreational use, have victory within their grasp.
Though it took until late Thursday and was decided by a mere fraction of a percentage point, the AP finally called it a victory for Question 1. Maine became just the second Northeast state to legalize recreational cannabis after Massachusetts voted to do the same on Tuesday.
However, when a competition goes down to the wire like this, and one side gets their heart ripped out, you can expect the opposition to second guess the results and that’s exactly what is happening.
No On 1 campaign director Scott Gagnon said his organization’s base has urged them to move forward with the fight, mostly for the sake of Maine’s children. The No On 1 group has secured the documents to file a recount request with the state and now must compile the necessary signatures and return to the state. The campaign has until Wednesday at 5 p.m. to collect the 100 required signatures before the Secretary of State will formally issue a recount. The Secretary of State must certify all election results within 20 days.
Unfortunately for those looking to undo marijuana prohibition in our Nation’s northernmost state, a recount isn’t the only thing they need to worry about. Maine’s antiquated Governor, Paul LePage, made his stance on marijuana legalization well-known, using fear tactics and flat-out mistruths in his attempt to derail the ballot measure’s chances. Now, even after Question 1 has passed, Governor LePage is holding fast in his resistance, claiming he will do everything in his power to stop the progress of legalization in Maine.
Gov. LePage spoke with Portland station WGAN last Thursday and stated that he is waiting to hear how President-elect Donald Trump wishes to proceed with regards to marijuana legalization. “If (Trump) enforces federal law, then I have no choice but to not put this into play and this is going to be a court battle,” Gov. LePage said.
Ever since states began to legalize marijuana for recreational use during his first term, the Obama administration has allowed states to oversee marijuana for themselves, opting to not intervene with forceful techniques such as DEA raids. Though President-elect Trump has said that he would respect a state’s individual decision on marijuana, his future cabinet may not agree. Trump has directly surrounded himself with some of the strongest anti-legalization figures in politics, including Vice President-elect Mike Pence, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. If Trump allows his cabinet to influence his decisions on drug policy reform, it could represent new speed bumps on the road to Nationwide legalization.
If you’re wondering where Trump stands on the matter currently, you may be disappointed. In a recent interview with Bill O’Reilly, Trump said that marijuana legalization was good “in some ways,” before adding, “and in other ways, it’s bad.”
If Governor LePage is basing his entire marijuana stance on indecision like that, Mainers could be in for a long wait.
Cover Image Courtesy of The Independent