Group targets Lewiston for next vote to legalize marijuana

January 31st, 2014 by admin Leave a reply »

AUGUSTA — The Marijuana Policy Project will launch new efforts to legalize recreational marijuana use this fall in Lewiston, South Portland and York, a move that leaders in two of those cities said caught them to some degree off guard.

While South Portland Police Chief Edward Googins said he has suspected since election night in November 2013 that his city could be the next battleground in the legalization debate, officials in York and Lewiston said Tuesday that they were surprised by the news.

David Boyer, Maine’s political director for the national Marijuana Policy Project, said Tuesday that his organization will attempt to put a marijuana legalization question on ballots in all three municipalities through local citizen petitions. He said the question his group hopes to put to voters will be similar to a local ordinance passed in Portland last November that legalizes possession of up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana by adults.

“Our point really is to keep the discussion going and to show that this wasn’t something just unique to Portland,” said Boyer. “We think that Mainers across the state believe that adults shouldn’t be punished for marijuana possession.”

Boyer said seeking legalization in York, South Portland and Lewiston is an effort to further gauge Mainers’ attitude toward lifting legal prohibitions against marijuana use and to force debate of the issue in this year’s gubernatorial and legislative election campaigns.

Boyer said he expects another attempt to legalize marijuana statewide in the Legislature next year — a tax-and-regulate measure failed last year — and if

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