While the legislature has made sense on the most important aspect of the cannabis plant, it looks as if though Maine has become un-smart on the other benefits of the plant.
In just one week the Maine legislature as killed two pro-legalization bills. Both LD 1380 and LD 1401. One can only assume their motives aside what they have publicly said on the matter to the press. But I have to give a few of them the benefit of the doubt. Personally after seeing the mess that was created in Washington state, the adversely effected patients, and set a precedence for ultra-high taxes on the legal cannabis market, hence forcing recreational users back into the already strong black market. It may be that those signals from Washington and in other places, have allowed the Maine legislature to give pause to this notion, and with good reason.
From reading the Bangor Daily news, I have caught the gist of the conversation over this topic in the Maine legislature.
Russell and Dion both said it’s only a matter of time before voters enact legalization by citizens’ initiative. The regulatory needs of legalization will be immense, and the Legislature should learn from history, they said.
“Each and every Legislature that has sat in this chamber since then has been confronted with innumerable bills to play catchup,” Representative Mark Dion said. “When we have to play catchup, citizens are at risk. Their conduct is called into question, and the government enacts a high price on error.”
“We don’t know what voters will or won’t do. They change their minds,” Representative William Tuell said. “If the voters do legalize marijuana, [but the Legislature passes this bill], we’re essentially heading them off at the pass.”
That statement by Representative Tuell hits a nerve, because I wish that Washington state legislatures should have stayed out the medical cannabis issue all together in my opinion, after having much more than a decade of trial with the well formed and liberal medical cannabis laws in Washington that have seemed to do not only good by the patients that need it, but also by the state itself in noticing how crime rates dropped drastically after the 1998 passing of I-692 that legalized medical cannabis for qualifying patients.
One very uneducated Representative made some near “reefer madness” claims about the power and authority of the Federal Government. Representative James Campbell and Independent from Newfield said the following.
“Why don’t they put a bill in to tell the people of Maine not to pay their federal taxes anymore?” he said. “What they’re doing is telling the people of Maine how to break federal law. And I think it’s disgusting.”
This is the kind of representative who appears to not be well educated on constitutional matters. As states do in fact have the right to have laws that vary from federal law, and this example can be found in many hundreds if not thousands of examples. One example is the minimum wage. The Federal law says minimum wage is __fill in the blank__ and states can increase that if they would like. Guns and abortion are another hot topic of how one state varies from another state, and also from the Federal government. Then of course there are medical marijuana laws, of which Maine is a medical marijuana state, and those type of laws have been independent and maybe even contrary to the Federal Government’s laws on the topic. James Campbell is running on old and out dated logic, much like Governor LePage, when LePage vetoed the Hemp Bill LD4 just to have the legislature quickly override him the following month with the easily obtained 2/3s majority that is required.
LePage said among other things; “This legislation is fatally flawed and due to current federal law, I can see no way to make this concept work. Maine’s current law regarding industrial hemp contains “trigger provisions” that limit State licensing until the federal government excludes industrial hemp from the definition of “marihuana” or until the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency issues permits for growing industrial hemp.”
But this goes back to the working medical marijuana laws in Maine.
LePage also made another erroneous comment about industrial hemp when he said;
“I also have serious doubts about the agricultural and economic benefits of this bill. At this time, there are no developed markets in Maine for hemp and it is unlikely that this product would command a price high enough to make this crop worth growing. Proponents argue that hemp fiber can act as a replacement for wood fiber, but Maine already has a vibrant forest industry with developed infrastructure. The same cannot be said for hemp, as there is currently no equipment in Maine to grow, harvest, transport, or process hemp.”
That comment I believe brings us to the heart of the issue. There is already established industries with LePage’s and other representatives ears. LePage citing the “vibrant forest industry” shows to me a little bias.
There are far more uses for hemp than just fiber. My wife and I’s company is for hemp motor oil, fuel, and body parts, similar to how Henry Ford and Rudolph Diesel designed cars in the 1940s.
With all of the things that are wrong in these discussions in the legislature and in the governor’s office, I can still only be grateful for the ability to legally grow industrial hemp, which we plan on doing asap.
With that in the Bangor Daily News article that I read on this topic, there are two separate and competing pro-legalization groups that are collecting signatures to put the legalization question out to statewide ballot in 2016.
Please read both of those initiatives and be educated on what is coming!