Archive for December, 2014

Fire that killed 6 voted Maine’s top story of 2014

December 31st, 2014

Local News

Bellingham Coast Guard rescue nominated for top video

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2014 Year in Review

December 31st, 2014

A brief look back at the 2014 archives revealed many memorable stories published in The Republican Journal. The following are just a few selections that stuck in the minds of staff members. Full story archives are available online at or through Belfast Free Library.

Stockton Springs trio receives citation from American Legion

The Maine American Legion chose Eugene Ellis as the Maine Firefighter of the Year, Denise Harriman as the Maine EMT of the Year, and Darrin Moody as the Maine Law Enforcement Officer of the Year. All three are residents of Stockton Springs and were honored by the American Legion Post 157 at the town’s Memorial Day Parade.

Ellis has been with the Stockton Springs fire department for 54 years and has been fire chief several times, as well as serving as selectman, tax assessor, constable, fire warden and planning board member over the years. He also helped start the ambulance service in the 1960s.

Denise Harriman has been volunteering with Stockton Springs Ambulance since 1991 and works full time as a medical assistant at Stockton springs Regional Health Center.

Darrin Moody, who began his career as a part-time officer for Stockton Springs in 2004, works for the Waldo County Sheriff’s Office and the Searsport and Stockton Springs police departments. He also serves as Stockton’s shellfish warden an coaches Little League.

Belfast adopts zoning ordinance changes

The Belfast City Council adopted zoning ordinance amendments for the area inside the Route 1 bypass, codifying the Belfast Comprehensive Planning Committee’s Future Land Use Plan

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Maine Lawmaker Will Re-Introduce Legalization Bill

December 30th, 2014

The year 2015 promises to be full of action on the legalization front, as ballot measure campaigns for 2016 in California, Nevada, and Arizona raise money, draft language, and gather signatures.

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Our View: Maine needs fair standards to determine drugged driving

December 30th, 2014

When it comes to drunken-driving laws, the standards are clear: A blood alcohol content reading of .08 percent or above means a person is too impaired to drive. Case closed. That is what years of research say, and that is what the law says.

It is tempting to do the same with marijuana, to establish a limit that can be measured through a simple test, so that law enforcement has another tool for curbing driving under the influence.

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A completed roadside drug influence evaluation sheet is seen during a March 6 drug recognition expert class at the Colorado State Patrol Training Academy in Golden. In states where marijuana is legal – for recreational use, medical use or both – police officers need more training on how to recognize motorists who are too high to drive safely.

Unfortunately, it is not that easy – not yet, anyway. Unlike blood alcohol tests, the methods of gauging the amount of marijuana in one’s system do not necessarily measure impairment, and far too little is understood about how marijuana affects one’s ability to operate a motor vehicle.

Marijuana OUI blood tests will be part of legislation proposed this session by the Maine Department of Public Safety. Maine would follow Colorado, Washington state and Montana, all of which have set a blood intoxication limit of 5 parts per billion of THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. In addition, Nevada has a limit of 2 parts per billion, while 11 other states have “zero

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Race To Legalize Weed In Maine, Legalization Groups Fighting Each Other

December 29th, 2014

Maine Democratic state Rep. Diane Russell is introducing an additional bill to regulate and tax marijuana, hoping to beat citizen referenda aiming to legalize marijuana on different terms, Bangor Daily News reports.

Russell is convinced that legalization of marijuana in Maine is nothing short of an inevitability. Three marijuana-related bills are already under consideration by lawmakers, including one which helps police determine if drivers are under the influence of pot when operating vehicles.

Her proposed legislation would reinstate liquor inspectors and task them with paying attention to marijuana, as well. In general, legal marijuana would look much like legal alcohol.

“It would dedicate tax revenue, significant tax revenue, to school construction so that we can make sure we’re building new schools and remodeling old schools so our children have an opportunity to have a solid education,” Rep. Russell told CBS 13.

The rush to put as many bills as possible before the legislature reflects a growing uncertainty among legislators as to what marijuana legalization will look like in the state. Two organizations, the Marijuana Policy Project and Legalize Maine, are aiming to forward citizen referendums either in 2015 or 2016 to pre-empt the legislature.

“Rep. Diane Russell’s bill may or may not pass but due to the timeline, we will have to begin drafting and circulating our petition before we will know what the legislature wants to do,” David Boyer, Maine Political Director for the Marijuana Policy Project, told The Daily Caller

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Maine lawmakers to consider several marijuana bills

December 29th, 2014

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — As activists ramp up efforts to legalize recreational marijuana use, Maine legislators are trying to get out in front of the issue.

Lawmakers will consider at least four pot-related bills in the new year, including one that will help law enforcement determine if someone is too stoned to drive.

Democratic state Rep. Diane Russell, of Portland, says she will introduce a bill to tax and regulate the use of recreational marijuana.

Two groups — the Marijuana Policy Project and Legalize Maine — plan to launch petition drives to collect signatures for 2016 referendums to legalize recreational pot use.

The Portland Press Herald ( ) reports that Russell also will sponsor a bill to remove the list of qualifying conditions for which patients can be approved to use medical marijuana.


Information from: Portland Press Herald,

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Legislation’s goal: Legal limit for driving while high

December 28th, 2014

The LePage administration is proposing a bill to establish an official blood-level limit to determine when someone is driving under the influence of marijuana, positioning Maine to be among the first handful of states to adopt such a stoned-driving law.

The idea pleases some members of law enforcement who say they need a clear standard to prevent drugged driving. Maine legalization advocates say they don’t condone driving under the influence either, but that such a test is not based on sound science.

The bill, which is being prepared by the Department of Public Safety, is one of several marijuana-related proposals that lawmakers will consider as legalization advocates continue to push for a statewide vote in 2016 to allow recreational use of marijuana in Maine. Other proposals include a perennial bill to legalize and tax marijuana for recreational use, as well as bills to eliminate the list of qualifying conditions for medical use and to protect patient privacy in the state’s medical marijuana program.

Maine’s law against operating under the influence – OUI – already prohibits driving a motor vehicle while impaired by marijuana, but there is no specific breath or blood-level limit as there is with alcohol.

The push to pass a marijuana OUI bill in Maine comes as the Office of National Drug Control Policy is taking steps to reduce drugged driving across the country and encouraging states that have approved medical or recreational marijuana use to adopt drug impairment laws. Details of the marijuana OUI bill have not been released and department

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Marijuana advocates hope Maine goes legal next

December 28th, 2014

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (AP) 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

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Marijuana concentrates gaining popularity in Maine

December 27th, 2014

BANGOR — A slight change in Maine’s medical marijuana laws earlier this year has sparked a new trend in this sudden growth industry: the manufacture and legal sale of highly concentrated liquid marijuana, better known as “honey oil.”

A concentrate derived from marijuana, also referred to as honey oil.

“A little dab’ll do ya, that’s for sure,” said Ryan, a Bangor medical marijuana patient, about the potent substance, which can be smoked or vaporized and inhaled. One hit of the marijuana concentrate feels equivalent to one marijuana cigarette, he said, speaking to the BDN on condition his last name not be published.

Known as “honey oil,” “hash oil,” “dabs,” “earwax” or “shatter,” among other names, homemade marijuana concentrates have caught on quickly because of the popularity and availability of e-cigarettes and vaporizer pens, which offer an easy, discreet way to use the drug.

Yet the rapid spreading of concentrates is a concern for law enforcement, as the potency of marijuana oil can be dangerous, especially for first-time users, and some ways of creating concentrates have led to deadly explosions, according to the National Drug Threat Assessment Summary 2014.

Recent explosions — i ncluding one in Rockland in November — have involved the production of cannabis concentrate with butane.

“Like (methamphetamine) labs, the production of the hash oil using this process can be extremely hazardous due to the chance of

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Fire that killed 6 voted Maine’s top story of 2014

December 27th, 2014


More NC charters on deck as enrollment in existing schools falls short

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