Bill To Legalize Marijuana in Maine
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Bill To Legalize Marijuana in Maine
Posted by CN Staff on February 22, 2013 at 07:23:01 PT
By Christopher Cousins, Bangor Daily News
Source: Bangor Daily News 
Augusta, Maine -- Lawmakers from opposite ends of the political spectrum unveiled a bill Thursday that would give Mainers the chance to legalize marijuana for recreational use in a statewide referendum. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Diane Russell, D-Portland, and co-sponsored by Rep. Aaron Libby, R-Waterboro, would make vast changes in Maine’s drug law, ranging from making possession of up to 2.5 ounces of pot legal to imposing a tax of $50 per ounce.
Russell and others argued during a press conference Thursday afternoon at the State House that laws against marijuana have enmeshed too many nonviolent offenders in the legal system and deprived government coffers of millions of dollars in revenue. Russell estimated that taxing and regulating marijuana could generate up to $13 million a year, three-quarters of which she proposes routing into the state’s General Fund, which supports the majority of state government including public education and most social services. The rest of the revenue would pay for implementation of the law, substance abuse treatment and prevention programs, and research on the effects of marijuana. “We have retail establishments that grow and supply [medical] marijuana to responsible consumers,” said Russell, whose first effort to legalize marijuana failed in the Legislature two years ago. “We have proven here in Maine that this can be done for medicinal purposes and it’s now time to institute that same strict regulatory infrastructure for responsible adult recreational consumers.” Russell proposes making it legal for individuals to grow as many as six plants if they are cultivated in a locked space. She also supports allowing the transfer of the drug from one adult to another without compensation, as long as they are at least 21 years old. The bill would make it illegal to smoke pot in public and calls on the Department of Administrative and Financial Services to license marijuana retail stores, cultivation facilities, product manufacturing facilities and testing facilities. Libby said his support for the bill isn’t about promoting drug use, but rather about taking government regulation out of what he called a “morality issue.” “I believe that ending marijuana prohibition is a true part of limited government,” said Libby. “As a fiscal conservative, I see great potential in the economic growth of removing these prohibitions.” David Boyer, who is the Maine political director for a Washington D.C.-based group called the Marijuana Policy Project, argued that in many ways marijuana is far less harmful than alcohol. “Marijuana is objectively far less harmful than alcohol for the consumer and for the broader community,” he said. “It is irrational to punish adults who simply prefer to use the less harmful substance. Law enforcement resources should be focused on preventing and responding to serious crimes rather than enforcing the failed policy of marijuana prohibition.” Denison Gallaudet, a former superintendent in the Richmond area, also supports the bill because of the potential revenue that could be reaped by the state. But another reason for his support of the bill is that in his experience, drug laws don’t keep marijuana out of the hands of kids. “We were confronted with the fact that our high school kids were smoking marijuana at twice the rate of smoking cigarettes,” said Gallaudet of his time as superintedent. “This is clearly a plan that is not working.” If passed by the Legislature, “An Act to Tax and Regulate Marijuana” would result in a statewide referendum in November 2014. Washington and Colorado approved ballot measures last year that legalized marijuana for recreational use. Bills to regulate and tax marijuana like alcohol also are expected to be debated this year in Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Vermont, according to the Marijuana Policy Project. Source: Bangor Daily News (ME)Author: Christopher Cousins, Bangor Daily News Published: February 21, 2013Copyright: 2013 Bangor Daily News Inc.Website: -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #10 posted by mexweed on February 23, 2013 at 11:56:47 PT:
A good luck toke, everyone
1. To Mr. Gallaudet's concern: good news, if twice as many kids are now using cannabis as tobacco, down the road this could mean saving big money, i.e. CDC estimates tobacco (mainly $igarettes) costs $193-bil. a year nationwide, $96-b of that health costs, $97-b lost productivity. What if cannabis largely displaced tobacco, and 25-mg single toke utensils entirely displace 500-mg joints, 700-mg commercial $igarettes and other HBOM 
(Hot Burning Overdose Monoxide) "smoking" methods?2. This bill is better than nothing, voters should go for the $50/oz tax because prices are sure to plummet and we'll be free from the presentday Smuggler Law Evasion Costs Tax which is in the $100's.3. First thing to do with the cannabis tax money: spearhead Vaporization Education for present-day smokers (including of $igarettes, who can switch to e-cigs-- Species democracy). 
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on February 23, 2013 at 07:33:14 PT
4 Months
It has been almost 4 months since elections and we haven't seen them come out strong about the new laws in Washington and Colorado. That's a good sign to me. Silence can be golden.
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Comment #8 posted by MikeEEEEE on February 22, 2013 at 20:11:54 PT
Beliefs that have laid dorment are waking up in a big way.
More and more people are believing resource$ could be better alocated somewhere else. Furthermore, confidence spreads, and larger numbers of people stand up to show their support. The dominos will continue to fall, only one starts the whole thing, then two make it go faster, and 3.......4...5.....6...7.8..9..10..11I wonder how many more states will treat it like alcohol in 2014, or 2016?I expect a few.
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Comment #7 posted by The GCW on February 22, 2013 at 15:05:50 PT
Good news / insight.
Federal prosecutor says state law a factor in Colorado marijuana case..."There have been days ... where I have woken up and thought, 'Lord, just give me a good methamphetamine case. Something simple,'" (Assistant U.S. Attorney M.J.) Menendez said in court Friday."Cont.
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Comment #6 posted by The GCW on February 22, 2013 at 14:55:21 PT
Ryann29 & FoM,
Ryann, I'd be pissed if I was a Cali resident also. You guys had a chance to win the race and blew it. - Just bein' fun friend...FoM, 2016? That IS so far away. There is going to be some action before then (hope). It's unacceptable to think about waiting till 2016 for the next state to RE-legalize. I understand the strategy... but who ever waits till 2016 may end up getting 5th place or worse.It would be hard to place a bet on who will win 3rd place! Maine sounds like a contender though. Bi-partisan support is huge, in a state which already has medical cannabis even.And their coming around the bend!
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on February 22, 2013 at 13:31:01 PT
If Jeb Bush won I would turn off the news forever. What I hope is that we can get marijuana legalized while Obama is still our President. That is as far as I can think.
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Comment #4 posted by Sam Adams on February 22, 2013 at 12:43:00 PT
FOM, I had not even thought about el presidente. What will it be like to live under Jeb Bush? haha I hope we never have to find out
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on February 22, 2013 at 11:31:02 PT
Oh no 2016 is so far away. I can't think of almost anyone I would like except maybe Elizabeth Warren. I like her go get em spit fire. I can't think of even one on the Right.
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Comment #2 posted by Sam Adams on February 22, 2013 at 10:58:44 PT
Let's hope that California and Maine both get their shot in 2016! Election Day 2016 is going to be a big one, wow, let the hype begin.
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Comment #1 posted by Ryannn29 on February 22, 2013 at 10:26:50 PT:
everybody's legalizing
wow, everybody's legalizing. People are realizing the many benefits of legalization, including the nice cash flow from taxing such an increasingly popular industry. As a California resident, I'm pissed! First Washington & Colorado, now Maine & Maryland! Come on cali, get it together!
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