Advocates launch campaign to legalize pot in Portland

September 12th, 2013 by admin Leave a reply »

Posted: 12:31 PM
Updated: 4:56 PM

Advocates launch campaign to legalize pot in Portland

By Randy Billings
Staff Writer

PORTLAND — Buoyed by the federal government’s relaxed stance toward states that legalize marijuana, advocates on Thursday officially kicked off a campaign to legalize the recreational use of marijuana for adults in Portland.

The advocates, including the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine, Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine and the Marijuana Policy Project, said Portland’s ordinance is the first step in a statewide legalization effort.

“This initiative is a top ACLU priority for this year,” said Executive Director Shenna Bellows. “We are dedicated to legalizing marijuana statewide because we think the outcome would be reducing Maine’s prison and jail population.”

Voters in November will be asked to adopt a city ordinance that would make it legal for anyone over the age of 21 to possess, and engage in the activity of obtaining, up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana.

Marijuana is illegal under federal law. Maine legalized medical marijuana in 1999 and significantly expanded the program a decade later. Today, the state has a tightly regulated system of medical marijuana growers and dispensaries, including one in Portland.

Portland Police Chief Michael Sauschuck has said the department is taking a wait-and-see approach regarding enforcement issues that may arise if the ordinance is passed.

Proponents say the proposed ordinance in Portland is in line with new federal enforcement priorities.

Earlier this month, the Justice Department announced that it would not sue Washington or Colorado over plans

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