Marijuana legalization supporters look to South Portland, Lewiston for …

October 28th, 2014 by admin Leave a reply »

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine — Advocates for recreational use of marijuana could have picked easier places to seek legalization ordinances than South Portland and Lewiston. But the second- and fourth-largest cities in Maine were chosen, in part, because they provide bigger stages upon which to make a statement.

The national Marijuana Policy Project started its campaign toward a 2016 statewide legalization referendum in Maine last fall, convincing nearly 67 percent of those who voted in Portland, the state’s largest city, to approve an ordinance allowing possession of the drug.

David Boyer, Maine director of the organization, said his group will pursue the statewide vote in two years “win, lose or draw” in Lewiston and South Portland. But make no mistake, he’d rather be going into 2016 on a three-city winning streak.

“Having three of Maine’s four largest cities voting to make pot legal sends a strong message to the rest of the state, and it sends a strong message to legislators that this is what the people want,” he said. “It would definitely be a big boost to momentum.”

On the flipside, opponents see the South Portland and Lewiston votes as opportunities to show that pot legalization is unpopular and unlikely to be successful statewide.

Opponents of the measure already have blocked legalization’s advance in one community, York, where Boyer and his supporters gathered enough petition signatures to trigger a vote, but selectmen refused to place the referendum on the ballot.

A superior court judge supported the selectmen’s decision, and with little time

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