After losing his tireless battle to maintain recreational cannabis prohibition in his state, Maine Governor Paul LePage now wants to tax patients so the state can profit from their illnesses.
Paul LePage says that now that there will be legal over-the-counter recreational marijuana, there is no reason to continue the states medical protections.
Gov. Paul LePage continued his push for changes to referendum questions passed by Maine voters in November by calling for an end to the state’s medical marijuana program on WGAN on Thursday.
Since the election, the Republican governor has mostly called upon the Maine Legislature to alter ballot initiatives that will levy a 3 percent surtax on income over $200,000 to increase aid to education and raise the hourly minimum wage to $12 by 2020.
LePage has been quieter on marijuana legalization, which apparently won but is currently locked in a recount. During the campaign, he urged voters to reject legalization, then focused on it on Thursday, saying “we’ve got to get rid of medical marijuana” now that recreational has passed.
“If you’ve got recreational marijuana, it’s over the counter,” LePage said. “Why do we need medical marijuana?”
Maine legalized medical marijuana in 1999, allowing use for certain conditions. In 2009, voters approved a referendum that created the system that now supplies most patients. Certain strains of medical marijuana are grown for particular conditions, such as epilepsy.
Impact on Maine’s medical marijuana system was a key flashpoint during the 2016 campaign between legalization advocates and medical marijuana caregivers — who can grow in their homes for up to five patients with little state regulation.
The referendum, however, was drafted by Legalize Maine, a group of caregivers who looked to shield the medical marijuana system in a number of ways, including giving licensing preferences to existing dispensaries and caregivers.
Paul McCarrier, the president of Legalize Maine, said the intent was to have “dual programs running side by side.”
“Not to put words in the governor’s mouth, but he may want reasonable regulations on medical marijuana,” McCarrier said. “But to get rid of it wholesale could really harm not only hundreds of Maine businesses, but thousands of Maine patients with severe conditions.”
LePage’s plan would place new restrictions on patients and force them into the increasingly corporate model in order to get their cannabis. And it would tax medical marijuana despite the fact that the state already has a law in place making medicine exempt from taxation.
It seems the governor is a sore loser and now he wants patients to pay the cost of his rage. Vengeance tax. As though taxation isn’t already wrong enough, LePage wants to wield it as tool of political revenge against voters in his own state. What a dick.