After a recount of votes on a ballot initiative, state officials said on Wednesday that Maine voters have made the state the eighth in the United States to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.
In a statement, Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap said the measure passed by 3,995 votes with the backing of 381,768 people. That was a marginally slimmer margin of victory than the 4,073 vote disparity reported after the Nov. 8 election.
Governor Paul LePage now has 10 days under Maine law to release a proclamation of the vote results. It would come into force 30 days later, laying down the stage for the substance to become legal for adults over 21 starting late next month.
As voters in neighboring Massachusetts ratified a similar measure last month, the result makes Maine the second state in the northeast to authorize the recreational use of the drug. Last week, marijuana became legal to use and possess in controlled amounts, but not yet to purchase, in that state.
See Related Story: Recreational Marijuana Finally Legal in Massachusetts
During a radio interview earlier this week, LePage said that he plans to seek legal advice ahead of signing the proclamation since the drug remains illegal under federal law.
However, President-elect Donald Trump has sent mixed signals regarding his views on it.
Marijuana legalization was best left to the states, Trump, a Republican, said during the campaign. His choice for attorney general, U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, has condemned Democratic President Barack Obama’s administration for not imposing the federal ban assertively enough.
Majority of Americans in favor of legalization
60 percent of Americans now favor the legalization of recreational use of marijuana as indicated by an October opinion survey by Gallup. Even more agree with the idea of legalizing marijuana for medical use, a measure that 28 states have taken.
Along with Maine and Massachusetts, voters in the District of Columbia, Colorado, California, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, and Nevada have legalized recreational use of the drug.