As marijuana becomes legal in Maine, governor seeks funding for rules

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Jan 30 (Reuters) - Maine on Monday became the eighth U.S. state to legalize recreational marijuana use and the state's Republican governor called on lawmakers to approve funds to develop rules to oversee retail sales of the drug.

The measure was narrowly approved by voters on Nov. 8 to make it legal for adults 21 and over to possess and use marijuana, but did not take effect until Monday.

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Governor Paul LePage, who opposed legalization, said he would order the state's Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations to hold off on formulating rules to govern the sale of the drug until the state's legislature approved new funding. A measure approved by state lawmakers last week delayed the retail sales of the drug until February 2018.

"The executive branch must be provided with the resources necessary to implement this new law," LePage said in a statement.

Massachusetts on Dec. 15 became the first state in the densely populated U.S. Northeast to legalize recreational marijuana use, also the result of a Nov. 8 ballot initiative. Lawmakers there delayed until July 1, 2018 the legal sale the drug, leaving state residents in a gray area where they can use but not legally buy marijuana.

51 PHOTOS
Marijuana legalization laws by state
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Marijuana legalization laws by state

Alabama: Medical use only, otherwise possession is a felony

(Photo: Dennis Macdonald via Getty Images)

Alaska: Marijuana legalized for medical and recreational use 

(Photo: Zoonar/N.Okhitin via Getty Images)

Arizona: Marijuana legalized for medical use

(Photo: Mikel Ortega via Getty Images)

Arkansas: Medical use only

(Photo: Getty Images)

California: Legal for medical and recreational use

(Getty)

Colorado: Legal for medical and recreational use  

(REUTERS/Rick Wilking)

Connecticut: Decriminalized and legalized for medical use 

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Delaware: Decriminalized

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Florida: Medical use only

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Georgia: Medical use only

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Hawaii: Medical use only

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Idaho: Not legal

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Illinois: Decriminalized

(Photo: VisionsofAmerica/Joe Sohm)

Indiana: Not legal

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Iowa: Medical use only

(Photo: Getty Images)

Kansas: Not legal

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Kentucky: Not legal

(Photo: Dorling Kindersley via Getty Images)

Louisiana: Medical use only

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Maine: Legal for medical and recreational use

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Maryland: Decriminalized

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Massachusetts: Legal

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Michigan: Medical use only

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Minnesota: Decriminalized

(Photo: Getty Images)

Mississippi: Decriminalized on first offense

(Photo: Getty Images)

Missouri: Not legal

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Montana: Medical use only

(Photo: Dennis Macdonald via Getty Images)

Nebraska: Decriminalized on first offense only

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Nevada: Legal

(Photo: Shutterstock)

New Hampshire: Medical use only

(Photo: Shutterstock)

New Jersey: Medical use only

(Photo: Shutterstock)

New Mexico: Medical use only

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New York: Decriminalized unless in public view

(REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)

North Carolina: Decriminalized

(Photo: Getty Images)

North Dakota: Medical use only

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Ohio: Decriminalized

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Oklahoma: Medical use only

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Oregon: Legal for medical and recreational use

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Pennsylvania: Medical use only

(Photo: Henryk Sadura via Getty Images)

Rhode Island: Decriminalized

(Photo: Shutterstock)

South Carolina: Not legal

(Photo: Shutterstock)

South Dakota: Not legal

(Photo: Dave and Les Jacobs via Getty Images)

Tennessee: Medical use only

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Texas: Medical use only, decriminalized in Houston and Dallas

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Utah: Not legal 

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Vermont: Decriminalized

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Virginia: Not legal

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Washington: Legal for medical and recreational use

(Photo: Shutterstock)

West Virginia: Medical use only

(Photo: Getty Images)

Wisconsin: Medical use only

(Photo: Getty Images)

Wyoming: Not legal 

(Photo: Space Images via Getty Images)

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Marijuana remains illegal under federal law but is now legal in Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, California and Alaska, as well as Maine, Massachusetts and the District of Columbia.

The Maine state senate on Monday named five members, three Republicans and two Democrats, to a committee charged with developing laws related to marijuana.

Legalization advocates called on the governor and legislature to act quickly to clear the way for legal sales.

"Now that the law has taken effect, our efforts must turn to the timely and effective implementation of the remaining parts of the law, to ensure that all Maine taxpayers benefit," said Alysia Melnick, a lawyer with Maine's Yes on 1 campaign.

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.

More on marijuana in the U.S.

8 PHOTOS
Legal marijuana sales, dispensaries around the US, recreational and medical
See Gallery
Legal marijuana sales, dispensaries around the US, recreational and medical
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 07: A man leaves Columbia Care, the first medical marijuana dispensary in New York City on January 7, 2016 in New York City. The law allowing medical marijuana was signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2014; the law stipulates that the legal marijuana may not be ingested by smoking it. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
Corey Young, a founder of courier service CannaRabbit LLC, picks up a delivery of marijuana from a dispensary as part of a wholesale transfer in Denver, Colorado, U.S., on Friday, March 27, 2015. CannaRabbit and peers are rushing in as regional truckers and nationwide haulers United Parcel Service Inc. and FedEx Corp. steer clear of transporting marijuana on concerns over the lack of nationwide clearance of a practice that is still illegal in most states. Photographer: Matthew Staver/Bloomberg via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 8: Takoma Wellness Center is a family run medical marijuana dispensary in Washington, DC. Employee, David Malpica, sets up the dispensary room before business hours on Sunday, March 8, 2015. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Marijuana sits on a counter after being delivered to a dispensary by the courier service CannaRabbit LLC in Louisville, Colorado, U.S., on Friday, March 27, 2015. CannaRabbit and peers are rushing in as regional truckers and nationwide haulers United Parcel Service Inc. and FedEx Corp. steer clear of transporting marijuana on concerns over the lack of nationwide clearance of a practice that is still illegal in most states. Photographer: Matthew Staver/Bloomberg via Getty Images
LOS ANGELES, CA JULY 05, 2014 --- Shoppers lined up at one of many pot vendors stall at cannabis farmers market organized by California Heritage Market at West Coast Collective, a marijuana dispensary in Boyle Heights. (Photo by Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Vendors and growers prepare their displays for card-carrying medical marijuana patients attending Los Angeles' first-ever cannabis farmer's market at the West Coast Collective medical marijuana dispensary, on the fourth of July, or Independence Day, in Los Angeles, California on July 4, 2014 where organizer's of the 3-day event plan to showcase high quality cannabis from growers and vendors throughout the state. AFP PHOTO/Frederic J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
Containers of the medical marijuana product known as 'Wax' are displayed at Los Angeles' first-ever cannabis farmer's market at the West Coast Collective medical marijuana dispensary, on the fourth of July, or Independence Day, in Los Angeles, California on July 4, 2014 where organizer's of the 3-day event plan to showcase high quality cannabis from growers and vendors throughout the state. AFP PHOTO/Frederic J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
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(Reporting by Scott Malone in Boston; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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