Panel stubs out bill to legalize marijuana

May 11th, 2011 by admin Leave a reply »

Posted: May 11
Updated: Today at 10:53 PM

Panel stubs out bill to legalize marijuana

There is still the possibility that Maine voters will be asked to decide whether the drug should be regulated and taxed.

By Rebekah Metzler
MaineToday Media State House Writer

AUGUSTA — State Rep. Diane Russell, D-Portland, said she was “very pleased” Tuesday even though a legislative committee voted 7-3 against her proposal to legalize marijuana.

Russell is the sponsor of L.D. 1453, which would legalize, regulate and tax marijuana in Maine. The measure got a public hearing and a committee vote Tuesday.

“This bill changes the paradigm of how we look at drug policy,” Russell told lawmakers on the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee. “It is time to see these policies through the lens of public health and not through the lens of the criminal justice system.”

Several people testified in support of the bill, but it was opposed by the Maine Office of Substance Abuse and the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency. Despite Maine’s law allowing medicinal use of marijuana, the drug is illegal under federal law.

Though several states allow medical marijuana, none has legalized pot for everyone. A recent effort to legalize the drug in California was voted down recently in a statewide referendum.

Some committee members said Tuesday that

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