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Maine Legalization Recount Scheduled to Start Dec. 1

maine legalization recount

Opponents of Maine’s Question 1 have requested a recount after a close race. The state’s marijuana legalization measure was part of a wave of successful initiatives around the country on Election Day. It won by just 2,620 votes.

According to Ballotpedia, a non-partisan site that covers ballot initiatives, the recount will cost $500,000, and the state covers all costs if the margin is less than 1.5%. The recount, set to begin on December 1, could take six weeks or more, reports WABI.

But the costs of the effort are being shared by another recount, on Question 2, a ballot initiative that would make individuals earning more than $200,000 a year pay an extra 3% in taxes. It won by 6,117 votes.

Unless the recount reveals that the Question 1 count was wrong, it will be legal for adults over 21-years-old to possess less than 2.5 ounces of cannabis on January 7. While the measure also legalizes sales, it could take a year for the state to set up its adult-use market.

While the fight for legalization in Maine has drawn less interest than larger markets like Massachusetts and California, it’s still an important milestone for a region that lacked any adult-use states prior to the election.

“The Maine market is extremely exciting because they’ve done a very good job developing their medical marijuana market,” states Leslie Bocskor, president of cannabis consulting firm Electrum Partners, in an interview with VolteFace on legalization in the Northeast. The medical marijuana program in Maine has avoided many of the pitfalls of similar programs in other states, he adds.

A recount changing the outcome of an election in Maine would be a highly unusual event, something that advocates were quick to point out. The opposing campaign said they are simply doing their due diligence.

«With thousands of votes in the margin, the recount is not going to be successful, and it’s unfortunate the opposition would go against the will of the people and use taxpayer dollars for a recount that will not change the outcome,» Alysia Melnick of the Yes on 1 told the Press Herald.