Portland Lawmaker Proposes to Legalize Marijuana

April 20th, 2011 by admin Leave a reply »

Rep. Russell is hoping the word on the street will become the word at the public hearing on her bill. She wants policy makers to finally hear what she and others have been hearing for years.

“One by one people say, ‘We should just legalize it. We should just stop wasting all these resources. Let’s collect the tax revenue off of it,'” she says. “Whether they’re going to tell you that at the public hearing or just on the street or in a coffee shop is the real question as to whether or not this moves forward.”

Russell’s bill would permit people to cultivate small amounts of marijuana and buy it from licensed caregivers. It would impose a seven percent sales tax that she estimates would bring in about $8.5 million dollars for the state. That doesn’t include payroll and income taxes that would also be generated.

Russell says it’s time to change the paradigm of the nation’s, and Maine’s, failed drug policy. “Painkillers are the drugs killing Maine people,” she says. “So why are we spending an estimated $26 million per year in Maine to root out, prosecute and jail people for the possession and sale of marijuana? Let’s channel that money toward the real drugs at the core of our addiction issue in Maine.”

“If your child can’t ride a two-wheeler bicycle, I’m not sure I want to give them the keys to a 500 cc motorcycle,” says Democratic Rep. Mark Dion of

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