BOSTON/SACRAMENTO, Calif. Two groups that had backed competing ballot initiatives to make recreational use of marijuana legal in Maine agreed on Monday to join forces on one measure to put before voters in 2016.
The state is one of six where competing pro-marijuana groups hope to hold referendums on marijuana legalization in 2016, following 2012 votes that legalized the drug in Colorado and Oregon. Attitudes about marijuana in the United States have changed markedly since then, as voters in Washington, Alaska and the District of Columbia have followed suit. Voters in Ohio will weigh in on legalization next month.
In Maine, the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol said that it would put its organization behind a ballot initiative submitted by Legalize Maine.
Legalize Maine had already collected about 40,000 signatures of voters who support the initiative and would need a total of 61,000 by January to place the measure on a statewide ballot.
“Either one of our measures would have passed but all of us had our doubts about what would happen if there were two measures on the ballot,” said Lynne Williams, general counsel for Legalize Maine, whose members played a key role in legalizing medical marijuana in the state. “It’s probably always better to work together than to work on parallel tracks.”
David Boyer of Maine’s Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, added, “Our initiatives were largely similar overall.”
A Gallup poll