Bill to legalize marijuana in Maine attracts Democrats, Republicans

February 22nd, 2013 by admin Leave a reply »

AUGUSTA — Lawmakers from opposite ends of the political spectrum unveiled a bill Thursday that would give Mainers the chance to legalize marijuana for recreational use.

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 news 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

Article source: http://www.theforecaster.net/news/print/2013/02/22/bill-legalize-marijuana-attracts-democrats-republi/151976

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