Legalize Maine pitches legalization of pot social clubs

November 18th, 2014 by admin Leave a reply »

A new group has emerged to push for a statewide marijuana legalization vote in 2016 that could compete with efforts already underway to approve recreational use of the drug in Maine.

Legalize Maine, a political action committee formed to advocate for legalization, plans to unveil a proposal on Wednesday that it calls a homegrown approach to legalize and regulate the drug in a way that best benefits Maine growers and the state economy. The group’s pitch also will include the legalization of marijuana social clubs so Mainers can enjoy the drug in a social setting and not just in the privacy of their homes as is required in other states.

The new group is supported by some medical marijuana caregivers, people who already grow limited amounts of the drug to sell to patients qualified to use it under existing law. More than 1,500 caregivers now make up a thriving cottage industry in Maine.

“I’ve seen the benefits of the marijuana economy, both the medical and underground market, on Maine’s rural economy, and it’s time to transition to a regulated, legal market,” Legalize Maine president Paul McCarrier said Monday. “Mainers don’t need a group from Washington, D.C., to dictate what’s best for them.”

So far, the push for a 2016 statewide referendum has come from the Washington-based Marijuana Policy Project, which led efforts in Portland, South Portland and Lewiston to put legalization measures on local ballots.

Portland residents voted to legalize pot in 2013. Earlier this month, voters in South Portland approved a similar measure,

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