It’s been just over a month since Maine voted “Yes” on Question 1 to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana – but the narrow win of only 4,073 votes gave the opposing No on 1 campaign the option to call for a recount, which they had made clear they were going to do from the beginning. The recount was expected to cost the state around $500,000 dollars – and lots of time spent collecting ballots from all over the state and having law enforcement deliver them to where the recount was taking place. Luckily, less than two weeks into the process, the No on 1 campaign has decided to back down, allowing the recount to come to an end early and Question 1 to go on to be certified and implemented as law.
“Marijuana will soon be legal in Maine,” said David Boyer, campaign manager for the “yes” side. “We are grateful that the No on 1 campaign has conceded and look forward to working together towards a successful implementation of Question 1.”
Instead of costing half a million dollars, the final cost of the recount is expected to be about $15,000 – and luckily no overtime was required from law enforcement in order to move the ballots that had already been transported at that point. It was just last Saturday that the group decided that they were not seeing enough of an improvement to make continuing the recount worth their while – or the state’s for that matter. At that point they had counted around a third of the ballots in the state and had only gained 90 of the 4000+ ballots that would have been needed to defeat the measure.
“We are satisfied that the count and the result are accurate,” Newell Auger said in statement released December 17.
Now that the request for recount has been withdrawn the measure must be certified by the secretary of state – once that happens the Governor will have 10 days to certify it, at which point there will then be a 30 day wait before the measure is enacted as law. So assuming it doesn’t take long for the secretary of state to certify Question 1, and that the Governor will act early in that 10 days, it should be near the end of January when the initiative becomes law. So after an inconvenience (at best), Maine can officially say that Question 1 passed in the election, making them one of four states to legalize marijuana for adult use in 2016.