Maine Voices: Portland marijuana legalization a bad idea

November 1st, 2013 by admin Leave a reply »

1:00 AM

Maine Voices: Portland marijuana legalization a bad idea

There is much that smells, and not the aroma of pot.

The message of Portland’s marijuana referendum is clear: If a city doesn’t like a state law, it can simply vote to ignore it. That’s a dangerous precedent.

about the author

Dave Canarie of South Portland is an attorney and an adjunct faculty member at the University of Southern Maine School of Business.

After all, why should a city comply with an unpopular state law when it can follow the “Portland model,” which is supported by the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine, and vote to exempt itself?

Following this model, if a town with a casino wants additional revenue, it could vote to “legalize and tax” prostitution, despite state law to the contrary. Some towns could refuse to follow Maine’s marriage equality law. Others could allow 18-year-olds to buy alcohol. Our rights could change every time we cross into the next town.

By legalizing marijuana, Portland would reject a law enacted by the Legislature. If individual towns are able to decide which state laws to follow and which to ignore, Maine would have an impossible patchwork of laws.


There is no need for legalization in Portland, where possession of 2.5 ounces of marijuana or less is handled like a routine traffic ticket.

Portland police reported about 50 citations for marijuana last year. Many of those involved possession in public or of more than 2.5 ounces – which would still be prohibited under the

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