New weed bill has Portland roots

March 4th, 2013 by admin Leave a reply »

Russell speaks at local bar about proposed bill that would legalize and regulate recreational marijuana use.

Posted on March 04, 2013 in News
By Nathan Mooney

Maine State Representative Diane Russell has authored a new bill to regulate and tax the sale of marijuana for recreational users 21 and over. Russell, representing Portland’s Munjoy Hill and Old Port neighborhoods, introduced a similar proposal in 2009 but failed to gather enough support to pass the changes to Maine’s existing marijuana policy.

Russell cited a number of reasons as impetus for the reintroduction of the bill.

“Eighty-six percent of drug arrests in Maine are for [marijuana] possession,” said Russell, citing the high state expenditures that result from prosecution and imprisonment for marijuana related offenses.

“This policy has not worked,” she said.

Russell said the state spent over $26 million in 2007 for the prosecution, law enforcement and imprisonment associated with marijuana-related offenses. She sees a big opportunity to turn some of those expenditures into revenue for the state with the introduction of a $50 per ounce flat tax on the wholesale of marijuana, in addition to the five percent sales tax it would receive when retailed. The revenue from the wholesale tax would

Article source: