Portland’s marijuana vote might not make it a mile-high city — yet

November 2nd, 2013 by admin Leave a reply »

Voters in Portland could decide Tuesday to make Maine’s largest city the only community in the state to legalize the possession and use of marijuana. If they vote “yes,” they could be voting for a change with limited practical impact but, potentially, a significant political impact.

As Portland voters make their decisions, they should understand what their vote will and will not do.

Question 1 on Tuesday’s ballot proposes an ordinance that would allow adults 21 and older to have up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and paraphernalia in their possession without facing penalties, civil or criminal. The ordinance, if approved, would allow people to use marijuana, but not in public places. Property owners, including landlords, would be able prohibit marijuana use on their properties.

What the ordinance wouldn’t do is set up a structure to regulate and tax the cultivation and sale of marijuana. That can’t be done at the municipal level, so those functions would remain on the black market or under the state’s regulatory structure for medical marijuana. But the ordinance includes a resolution of support for marijuana’s taxation and regulation at the state and federal levels.

As the city contemplates the marijuana ordinance, voters should realize the Portland Police Department has discretion in the matter. The department could choose, as a matter of policy, to enforce the ordinance or disregard it in favor of enforcing a state law that’s in clear conflict. Portland Police Chief Michael Sauschuk told The Associated Press last month his

Article source: https://bangordailynews.com/2013/11/01/opinion/portlands-marijuana-vote-might-not-make-it-a-mile-high-city-yet/