Petitions call for legal marijuana in Portland

June 7th, 2013 by admin Leave a reply »

PORTLAND – City residents will likely vote in November on whether they want Portland to be among a handful of cities nationwide – and the first in Maine – to legalize possession of small amounts of marijuana.

Although the measure would make a strong political statement, it would have little real effect: State and federal laws against possession could still be enforced in the city, and the ordinance wouldn’t set up a legal way to distribute recreational marijuana like Maine’s system of prescriptions, caregivers and dispensaries for medical marijuana.

On Thursday morning, supporters of the initiative handed in petitions at City Hall with more than 3,200 signatures. The city requires at least 1,500 signatures of registered voters to get a spot on the ballot. Officials in the city clerk’s office said they expect to be able to validate the petitions in a week or so.

The measure would allow people 21 and older to possess as much as 2.5 ounces of marijuana. It would prohibit smoking of marijuana in public and would allow landlords to bar it in their apartments by posting “no smoking” signs.

Supporters said Maine’s already lenient law, which calls for small civil fines for first offenses of possession of less than 1.25 ounces, is too much.

The Legislature “has rejected (a) sane drug policy (and) continued pursuing the failed policy of prohibition,” said Tom MacMillan, chairman of the Portland Independent Committee, which led the petition drive.

Removing any penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana “would save the city of Portland

Article source: