Marijuana Advocates Hope Maine Goes Legal Next
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Marijuana Advocates Hope Maine Goes Legal Next
Posted by CN Staff on November 23, 2014 at 15:11:56 PT
By Patrick Whittle, Associated Press Writer
Source: Associated Press
South Portland, Maine -- Marijuana advocates want to finally take their legalization drive  thus far the province of western states  to the Northeast, and they say the first state to do it here might be Maine.The Pine Tree State has a long history with cannabis  Maine voters approved medical marijuana legalization 15 years ago, becoming the first state to do so in New England. Now, national marijuana advocates say, the state represents a chance for pro-marijuana forces to get a toe-hold in the northeastern states they have long coveted.
Supporters of marijuana legalization say part of their focus on Maine is schematic  the ease of Maine's citizen-led public ballot initiative process makes it a more viable target than states where laws can only be changed through complicated state legislative battles. Pro-legalization advocates also cite a pair of recent victories in municipal legalization drives  Portland, the state's largest city, in 2013 and South Portland, its fourth largest, this month.Maine also decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana nearly four decades ago, and the state already has a sizeable network of eight dispensaries and more than 1,500 legal growers. The favorable climate for legalization has national and local pro-marijuana groups gearing up for a potential statewide legalization ballot initiative in 2016."It's quite possible that Maine could be the first state in the Northeast to legalize marijuana and other states would follow," said Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Washington, D.C.-based Drug Policy Alliance.Marijuana reformers around the country scored a series of wins on election night, when Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C., all went legal. Maine supporters are already crafting the ballot initiative for the 2016 election cycle, according to David Boyer, a Falmouth resident and political director for the Washington-based Marijuana Policy Project.The petitioners will need to collect about 61,000 signatures to get the item on the ballot, according to the state constitution. Boyer said the petition drive will likely begin in the next six months.Maine does have some competition to be first to legalize in the Northeast, as national advocates are also targeting Massachusetts for a potential referendum in 2016. State legislatures in Rhode Island and Vermont could also take up the issue next year. Outside the Northeast, national advocates are also pushing for popular ballot initiatives in California, Arizona and Nevada.Maine's ballot initiative will face significant opposition from some public and law enforcement officials, some of whom campaigned against legalization in its cities. Some medical marijuana advocates also have reservations, including Hillary Lister, director of the Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine, who said she fears large-scale investors could crowd smaller growers out of the market.Roy McKinney, director of the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, said the legalization vote in South Portland  where voters approved a measure to allow people age 21 and older to possess an ounce of marijuana  doesn't supersede state law. He said the agency's stance on the statewide ballot initiative would depend on how it was written, but added that it opposed efforts to legalize marijuana via the state legislature.Approval on a statewide level won't sail through, as anti-marijuana forces are emboldened by a recent victory of their own  a November legalization referendum's failure in Lewiston, the state's second-largest city.Lewiston Mayor Bob Macdonald, who worked in the drug unit of Lewiston's police department before becoming mayor, called legalization a sign of "degeneration of society." He said he is glad the referendum to legalize marijuana in his city failed."I'm set in my ways and that's one thing I'm totally against  making any drugs legal," he said.Source: Associated Press (Wire) Author: Patrick Whittle, Associated Press WriterPublished:  November 23, 2014Copyright: 2014 The Associated PressCannabisNews  -- Cannabis Archives
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Comment #3 posted by observer on November 24, 2014 at 13:17:45 PT
What's all the fuss?
Readers of this AP article will think the issue is about some dopey "advocates" versus the calm reason of a concerned, caring government - public servants who care only for the good of society.  Notice, not a mention of what this is all about: arresting and imprisoning people for pot, and police stealing their cash, cars and property. AP never mentioned that teensy arrest/prison detail (i.e. the whole point of "Legalization") - but they did quote the mayor waxing eloquent on the "degeneration of society."Why do you think prohibitionists like to downplay, dismiss, minimize, and weasel out of the main point of legalizing pot: the arrests and imprisonment of people because of pot? Why do they do that, do you think? Here's an example from a few days ago where former Bush regime drug czar Walters claims that few people are arrested for pot, and anyway, who cares about the arrests of those wicked pot-heads, anyhow: 
 another example, where the DEA (5/2014) tried to claim that pot arrests and prison for pot don't happen, or aren't important: So obviously this is a tactic we should pay attention to. Sabet does this every talk where he knows the majority of people don't agree with arresting people for pot. Sabet tries to make the same claim. 'I don't care,' (weasels Sabet) 'if you loser adults smoke pot in your basements' (Sabet asserts), 'but here: fear this boogeyman' (fill in the blank) - 'so that's why we must never Legalize pot,' Sabet triumphantly then concludes.Prison for pot (the thing the AP forgot to mention). That's the whole point.
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Comment #2 posted by Oleg the Tumor on November 24, 2014 at 03:50:37 PT
And the beat goes on . . .
Lewiston Mayor Bob Macdonald, who worked in the drug unit of Lewiston's police department before becoming mayor, called legalization a sign of "degeneration of society."There is no question that society is degenerating even now, and will continue to degenerate chiefly because of the decision to use Oil as a raw materials resource over natural substitutes.The real power is in the currency exchange, where money is exchanged for Power. All because Oil is priced in US currency everywhere in the world. That's not a degenerating force, is it?Not if you own stock, is isn't!In the end who will deserve the blame for the "degeneration of America"? Marijuana users? Oh, please! 
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Comment #1 posted by The GCW on November 23, 2014 at 20:56:23 PT
Note to Bob, God's plant is a winner.
Note to Lewiston Mayor Bob Macdonald.Cannabis activists are also set in Our ways.We aim to stop mean and/or ignorant people from caging, persecuting and otherwise discriminating against responsible adults who choose to use the God-given plant cannabis.God's plant is a winner.
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