Russell urges legalization of marijuana

April 21st, 2011 by admin Leave a reply »

Posted: 12:00 AM
Updated: 11:33 PM

Russell urges legalization of marijuana

Rep. Diane Russell, D-Portland, says marijuana isn’t hard to get now, and consumes police efforts.

By Edward D. Murphy
Staff Writer

PORTLAND – Legalizing marijuana would simply be recognition of “the world as it is,” the lead sponsor of a bill to make the drug legal in Maine said Wednesday.

Rep. Diane Russell holds a press conference at Portland City Hall Wednesday, where she explained her bill to legalize marijuana and tax its sales, raising an estimated $8.5 million each year, she said. A lone protester in the background holds a sign opposing her bill.

John Patriquin/Staff Photographer

Rep. Diane Russell, D-Portland, has introduced a bill to make marijuana legal, allow people to grow small amounts for personal use and subject sales to a 7 percent tax, with the revenue directed to law enforcement, agricultural programs, land preservation, weatherization and higher education.

Russell spoke about the plan at a press conference at City Hall, with about a dozen supporters and a lone protester. Backers of the bill call their group “Maine First,” since they want the state to be the first to legalize, regulate and tax the marijuana industry.

The bill’s chances of passing aren’t good.

The Legislature already has killed two bills in this session

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