It may not be a Merry Christmas for marijuana in Maine. Last month Maine voted yes on 1 which should have legalized recreational marijuana. However, their vote passed with a small enough margin to warrant a ballot by ballot recount.
The grinches who stole litmus are the opponents that called for a recount of Question 1. State police will have to get overtime in order to complete a recount.
The recount will cost the state an estimated $500,000. If the 4,000 vote margin was larger, opponents would have had to pay for the recount. Unfortunately, they decided on behalf of the entire state that the recount was worth their tax dollars.
What’s worse, even if the votes are still for legalization, the implementation of the law will likely be delayed.
Is The Recount Worth Maine’s Time And Money?
Up to 700,000 ballots in about 500 Maine communities will have to be recounted. The law was scheduled to take effect on Jan. 7. However, the time and resources required for the recount may set that back. It also means less holiday time off for state police. They will be collecting and delivering ballot boxes from 503 different towns to state officials. Courtesy of the scrooges in charge of the “No On 1” campaign, who were the first group ever to utilize tax dollars in Maine for a recount. Every other call for a recount in Maine’s history was dropped after an initial review.
On the other hand, supporters of the yes on 1 campaign are trying to rush the recount. The sooner its finished, the sooner the law can go into effect.
“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.”
This is one of many consequences from the recount effort. In fact, the legislature in charge of implementing the law only has 9 months from the effective date to get the program running. If the recount takes months as some sources predict, the recount has just made that time limit much shorter.
What Do Opponents Have To Say For Themselves?
“Really, if we’re going to make a significant change in our public policy that would come about from this referendum, we should be absolutely sure that we’ve got an accurate count, and that’s what we’re doing,” No on 1 Attorney Newell Augur said.
Opponents are aware of the criticisms they’re receiving after going through with a recount. In response to the criticism about wasted time and resources, Newell Augur said, “we are not going to drag this out if it’s obvious the numbers aren’t moving.”
The best case scenario would be if opponents realize the recount is futile early and call it off. Until then, it looks like recreational marijuana won’t be hitting Maine as soon as people hoped. We guess Massachusetts will be banking on the extra tourism when their recreational program goes into effect in about a week! At least one of these New England states will have a green Christmas.