Signatures submitted, pot debate continues

July 18th, 2014 by admin Leave a reply »

SOUTH PORTLAND — Talk of legalizing marijuana in South Portland became a reality Monday when propot advocates submitted a petition to allow recreational use by adults.

Modeled on a similar measure approved last fall in Portland by 67 percent of voters, the proposed ordinance would allow people age 21 and older to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana within city limits.

With backing from the national Marijuana Policy Project, Citizens for a Safer Maine submitted 1,521 signatures with their petition. To force council action, the group needed to collect signatures from 5 percent of registered South Portland voters. According to City Clerk Susan Mooney, 959 names were required, making it an apparent safe bet that the city council will have to deal with the issue.

On June 2, aware for months that a petition drive was imminent, the South Portland City Council made a somewhat unorthodox move, voting 5-0 to adopt a pre-emptive resolution opposing the decriminalization of marijuana in South Portland for anything other then medical use.

“We will definitely fight this all the way,” said Councilor Maxine Beecher at the time. “Just because something passes in Portland doesn’t mean it has to pass here.”

This past spring, Beecher joined a stakeholders group formed by Police Chief Ed Googins, shortly after a January announcement by David Boyer, political director of the Maine Chapter of the Marijuana Policy Project. Boyer had said his group would follow up on its success in Portland by launching similar measures in South Portland, Lewiston and York, with an

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