Maine Gov. Paul LePage has signed an executive order giving the state Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages & Lottery Operations the responsibility of governing the adult-use cannabis industry, circumventing the legislature who rejected the proposal last week in a bill that delayed the implementation of the program three months, the Bangor Daily News reports. Under the measure passed by voters last November, the state Department of Agriculture was tasked with the industry oversight responsibility.
The order also forbids the executive branch from spending any more money on setting up the adult-use regime until the Legislature greenlights appropriations. The governor urged lawmakers to include $1.6 million in appropriations in last week’s legislative move, but that too was excluded from the package.
The executive order comes as the Republican LePage battles with Democratic House Speaker Sara Gideon over the issue – upset that his amendments were not included in the bill passed by lawmakers last week. However, before the order, Gideon introduced a bill that would have moved the oversight to Alcohol & Lottery Bureau, and appropriated the $1.6 million requested by the governor.
According to LePage, the funds are necessary to set up regulations, hire consultants, and possibly hire new state government employees.