Pingree co-sponsors bill to legalize marijuana

March 24th, 2013 by admin Leave a reply »

PORTLAND — U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine is one of 13 co-sponsors of a bill that supporters say would end marijuana prohibition at the federal level.

News of the proposed legislation came on the same day that a petition drive seeking to legalize pot possession began in Portland, the largest city in Pingree’s home state. The effort to decriminalize marijuana at a federal level also comes as state Rep. Diane Russell, D-Portland, is pursuing a bill in Augusta to do so at the state level.

Robert Schwartz, executive director of the Maine Chiefs of Police Association, said Thursday afternoon his group remains adamantly against the legalization of marijuana at any level.

Pingree, a Democrat representing Maine’s 1st District, is currently the only member of Congress from New England to sign on in support of H.R. 499, titled the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2013. The only Republican co-sponsor is U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California.

According to the Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project, the bill would establish a system in which marijuana is regulated similarly to alcohol at the federal level, placing the drug under the jurisdiction of a renamed Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Marijuana, Firearms and Explosives.

Currently, regulation of pot as an illegal substance is under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

“Congresswoman Pingree supports the bill because it is patterned after successful bills in Washington and Colorado, and she feels it’s a

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