Maine lawmakers face big Medicaid, marijuana decisions

Maine lawmakers are preparing for a 2018 session where Medicaid expansion and marijuana legalization are expected to take center stage.

The Legislature must figure out how to pay for Medicaid's eventual $54 million expansion. The sale of recreational marijuana is also set to become legal Feb. 1, even though lawmakers failed this year to put a licensing and regulatory structure in place.

Next year will be Republican Gov. Paul LePage's last full year in office, and he is continuing to chastise lawmakers for his biggest pet peeve: fiscal irresponsibility and laziness. He's threatened to not implement Medicaid expansion and recreational marijuana sales unless lawmakers fulfill his conditions.

"Many politicians conveniently forget that the last time Maine expanded Medicaid, it blew holes in the budget every year," LePage said in a recent radio address. "The Legislature lurched from crisis to crisis and scrambled to find one-time gimmicks to fund the budget....

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