Bill Nemitz: Portland voters will legalize marijuana

July 17th, 2013 by admin Leave a reply »

Updated: 5:39 AM

Bill Nemitz: Portland voters will legalize marijuana

By Bill Nemitz

Allow me to squeeze this week’s City Hall news into Portland’s new marketing slogan:

“Portland. Yes. Catching a buzz is good here.”

Monday evening, the Portland City Council took a pass on a citizens initiative to make recreational use of marijuana legal in Maine’s largest municipality. Instead, by a 5-1 vote, the council sent the measure on for the local citizenry to decide on Nov. 5.

Yeah, I know, it’s always dangerous to predict in July what voters will do in November. But trust me, the city the rest of Maine loves to hate is about to give a whole new meaning to “The Way Life Should Be.”

(Or, as George Washington himself wrote in a note to his gardener at Mount Vernon way back in 1794, “Make the most of the Indian hemp seed, and sow it everywhere!”)

“I think even if we didn’t do anything from now until November, it would pass,” said David Boyer, Maine political director for the national Marijuana Policy Project, in an interview Tuesday. “But we’re going to work it and make sure it passes, hopefully with a comfortable margin.”

Boyer, who comes to this issue by way of Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign and the Maine-based Defense of Liberty PAC, has good reason to be optimistic:

Back in 1999, when Maine voters overwhelmingly approved the use of medical marijuana, Portland led that charge, with more than 72 percent of the

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