Jan 3 Maine Governor Paul LePage on Tuesday said
he had signed a measure legalizing the recreational usage of
marijuana in his state after voters approved the move in a
November ballot initiative.
With the signature, the country's northeastern-most state
becomes the ninth to legalize recreational use of the drug.
LePage, a Republican who had opposed the idea, expressed
reservations about how legalization would be implemented in a
regular weekly interview with WMOV radio, in which he confirmed
signing the legalization proclamation.
"There is nothing I can do until the legislature gives me
money to set up the infrastructure," LePage said.
The law will allow adults aged 21 and older to use the drug
in private, but not public places, and to possess up to 2.5
ounces (70.9 grams) of marijuana.
"Mainers will no longer be punished for using a substance
that is safer than alcohol," said David Boyer, who led the
legalization campaign, in a statement.
"We look forward to working with the legislature to ensure a
timely implementation of Question 1, which will provide adults
with a legal way to purchase marijuana from licensed and
Nearby Massachusetts last month became the first state in
the northeast to legalize recreational marijuana usage after a
similar measure passed in a Nov. 8 ballot initiative.
An October poll by Gallup showed that 60 percent of
Americans now support the legalization of recreational use of
marijuana. Even more approve of the idea of legalizing marijuana
for medical use, a step that 28 states have taken.
The drug remains illegal under federal law, and U.S.
President-elect Donald Trump, who takes office on Jan. 20, has
sent mixed signals about his views on it.
(Reporting by Scott Malone in Boston; Editing by Alan Crosby)