We are pleased to announce that Portland is on its way to becoming the first city on the East Coast to legalize marijuana for adults!
With 80% of precincts reporting, 70% of city voters have approved Question 1, eliminating all legal penalties for possession of up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana by adults 21 years of age and older within city limits.
Thank you to everyone who took part in this historic campaign! This was truly a grassroots effort and required a lot of hard work over the past several months. Needless to say, it all paid off.
This is not just a major victory for Portland, but for all of Maine. It will surely provide a huge boost to our efforts to pass a statewide measure to regulate marijuana like alcohol in 2016.
According to Talking Points Memo, Sen. John McCain made some comments Thursday that some may find surprising:
McCain’s comments could not have been better timed. Next week, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the Justice Department’s new policy allowing states to move forward with taxing and regulating marijuana. Arizona’s other senator, Jeff Flake, is a member of that committee. Sen. Flake will have the opportunity to question Justice Department officials and help shape the future of federal policy on marijuana.
A national poll released this week by Reason Magazine found that a majority of adults want to see marijuana reform, and that they want the federal government to respect state laws concerning marijuana.
Some highlights, courtesy of Katie Hooks:
- 72 percent of Americans say the federal government should not arrest marijuana users in states like Colorado and Washington that have legalized the drug.
- 68 percent of Americans say the federal government should not arrest marijuana growers in states that have legalized the drug.
- 64 percent say the federal government should not arrest marijuana sellers in states that have legalized the drug.
- 53 percent say they agree with the statement that "marijuana should be treated the same as alcohol."
- 49 percent say they oppose legalizing marijuana for recreational use and 47 percent support legalizing it. That finding is within the poll’s margin of error, which is plus or minus 3.8 percent.
It is important to note the discrepancy in these last two results. Often times, when people hear the word “legalize,” they assume that this means making marijuana legal with no regulations or systems in place to govern the distribution and use of the substance. This could easily explain why more respondents agree with treating marijuana like alcohol than with “legalizing marijuana.” Fortunately, every serious effort to make marijuana legal in states around the country has been careful to include provisions that would establish a well-regulated cultivation and distribution system.
A new Gallup poll shows that 50% of voters nationwide answered “Yes” to the question, “Do you think the use of marijuana should be made legal, or not?” Only 46% of respondents answered “No.” This is the first time on record that more Americans support ending marijuana prohibition than support maintaining the status quo of arresting and prosecuting people for marijuana possession. Support for marijuana reform has been growing steadily over the last few decades, but this poll shows a 4% increase over last year, when Gallup asked respondents the same question.
Opinions were heavily divided by age, with support being strongest among 18-29 year olds (62%) and 30-49 year olds (56%). The results were also quite divided geographically, with the highest support coming from the West, Midwest, and East.
“This is an historic day in the decades-long war on marijuana. As of today, a majority of the American public believes the use of marijuana should be legal for adults,” said Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project. “Moreover, it is clear from the levels of support among various age groups that support will only increase over time. None of this is surprising. Americans know that prohibition is a failed policy. It was true for alcohol, and it is true for marijuana, a substance far less harmful than alcohol. The American people are clearly saying it is time to stop arresting adults for using marijuana. Now it is time for our elected officials to listen to the public.”
This poll comes at an interesting time, with many states re-examining their marijuana laws and a series of bills sitting before Congress that would limit federal involvement in marijuana policy. Currently, the Obama administration is reversing its earlier stance of non-interference in medical marijuana states and is increasing efforts to shut down the medical marijuana industry in California and elsewhere, a move that experts say will drive medical marijuana patients into the criminal market to obtain their medicine. At the same time, several states, including Colorado, California, and Washington, are considering ballot initiatives that would tax and regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol.
The poll, conducted October 6-9 by Gallup, surveyed 1,005 registered voters from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. It is available for download at http://www.gallup.com/poll/150149/Record-High-Americans-Favor-Legalizing-Marijuana.aspx