The Legislature has given preliminary approval and may soon send to Gov. Paul LePage a bill that funds and designates the agency that will administer recreational marijuana sales in Maine, approved by voters at referendum in November.

The bill gives the Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations the authority to oversee recreational marijuana use. That’s a change from the measure approved by voters, which would have given regulatory authority to the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.

The bill also allocates $200,000 to fund the work of a special committee that is handling marijuana-related legislation, and another $1.4 million for implementation to the Department of Administrative and Financial Services. The department oversees the alcoholic beverages and lottery bureau.

The Senate gave initial approval to the bill Thursday on a voice vote, with no debate or roll call, a day after the House gave a preliminary nod to the measure. Final votes are expected soon before the bill is sent to the governor, who has 10 days in which to sign the measure, veto it or let it become law without his signature.

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