Voters in two states, the fourth largest city in Maine, and the nation’s capital approved ballot measures to end marijuana prohibition and implement more sensible marijuana policies, capping off a historic election year for marijuana policy reform.
Alaska and Oregon are now the third and fourth states to regulate and tax marijuana like alcohol, following Colorado and Washington. As of early this morning, Oregon’s Measure 91 led 54-46 with 75% of the votes counted. Alaska’s Ballot Measure 2 led 52-48 with 97% of the state’s precincts reporting.
Voters in South Portland, Maine approved Question 2 52-48 as well, making it the second East Coast city to make marijuana legal for adult use at the local level. A similar ballot measure in Lewiston, Maine came in close; it received 45% of the vote and did not pass.
In Washington, D.C., voters approved Initiative 71 by an overwhelming margin of 65-28, removing all penalties for the possession and home cultivation of limited amounts of marijuana by adults.
Moreover, an overwhelming majority of Florida voters — 58% — approved Amendment 2, which would have allowed patients with serious and debilitating conditions access to medical marijuana upon a physician’s recommendation. Unfortunately, the measure failed to pass because Florida state law requires 60% support for approval.
Nonetheless, yesterday’s historic election was largely successful and demonstrated that American citizens are ready to end marijuana prohibition in the country for good.
We will update the details of election results if new data becomes available.
Today, states, cities, and the nation’s capital will be voting on marijuana policy ballot measures.
Alaska and Oregon are considering statewide ballot measures that would make marijuana legal for adults and regulate it similarly to alcohol. If Ballot Measure 2 in Alaska and Measure 91 in Oregon are approved, Alaska and Oregon would be the third and fourth states in the U.S. to end marijuana prohibition.
In Washington D.C., voters are considering Initiative 71, which would make possession of up to two ounces of marijuana legal for adults 21 and older, as well as allow adults to cultivate up to six plants in their homes. Two of Maine’s largest cities — Lewiston and South Portland — are also considering citywide ballot measures that would make marijuana legal for adults.
In addition, Florida could become the 24th state to allow people with debilitating illnesses and conditions to access marijuana upon a physician’s recommendation, if voters pass Amendment 2.
Smaller local marijuana policy initiatives and ballot questions are also being considered in many cities across the country.
Needless to say, today is a very important! Please go out and vote to help end marijuana prohibition and implement sensible marijuana policies around the nation. Encourage neighbors, friends, and relatives to do the same! For more Election Day information, please visit headcount.org.
Proponents of making marijuana legal in two of Maine’s largest cities, Lewiston and South Portland, have taken their message to the streets to bring more attention to Question 2 before next week’s vote. If the local referendums pass, they would make possession of up to an ounce of marijuana legal for adults 21 years of age and older.
“We want to draw attention to the important fact that marijuana is safer than alcohol,” explained David Boyer, Maine Political Director for the Marijuana Policy Project. “If adults want to use a safer substance, there is no reason they shouldn’t be allowed to.”
The Marijuana Policy Project created a mobile billboard to educate voters about their stance on the referendum. The organization argues that marijuana is safer than alcohol and that adults 21 and older should be allowed to use it. They also hope that the message draws the attention of voters to have their voices heard.
“It is not a presidential year, enthusiasm is not that high among the electorate, but with this issue people register for the first time, they come out to vote for the first time,” said Boyer. “We hear it down in South Portland, we see it here in Lewiston, people are fired-up to vote for this and not much else.”
If you are a Lewiston or South Portland resident, please take the initiative and go out and vote to implement a more sensible marijuana policy in your towns on November 4. Encourage family, friends, and neighbors to do the same! For voter information, visit Maine.gov.
South Portland and Lewiston Referenda Highlight Conflicting Views on the Dangers of Alcohol Versus Marijuana
Bangor Daily News reported that South Portland and Lewiston, Maine voters, on November 4, will decide whether to make marijuana legal for the use and possession of up to an ounce for citizens 21 years of age and older.
David Boyer, Maine political director for the Marijuana Policy Project, said he believes South Portland will pass the ordinance.
“Prohibition has been a failure,” he said. “It’s done nothing to stop the flow of marijuana into the communities.” He added that “58 percent of Americans are ready to move forward with a more sensible marijuana policy,” citing a 2013 Gallup poll. “It’s illogical to punish adults for a substance that’s less harmful than alcohol,” Boyer also stated.
South Portland Police Chief, Edward Googins, on the other hand, vehemently opposes the ordinance.
“This issue for me as a police chief is that the initiative is not a good thing for our community or anywhere else,” Googins said. According to the chief, marijuana is more dangerous because it “continues to create and perpetuate other problems in society.” “Claims that marijuana is safer than alcohol are so bogus it’s not even funny,” he also stated.
The fact that Chief Googins believes that alcohol is safer than marijuana demonstrates just how misguided the opposition really is. In reality, studies show alcohol to be more toxic, more addictive, and more harmful to the body. The use of alcohol is also more likely to result in violence and injures than marijuana. Overall, the negative impact on the consumer, as well as on the community at large, is more significant when it comes to alcohol consumption; all the more reason to give responsible adults the option to legally use the safer substance.
The Portland Press Herald reported that advocates of making marijuana legal kicked off a campaign yesterday in support of upcoming votes on the issue in Lewiston and South Portland.
The advocates, led by the Marijuana Policy Project, held a rally at Kennedy Park for those in favor of Lewiston’s Question 2, which would make the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana legal for adults 21 years of age and older.
“Every day more and more people support making marijuana legal,” said David Boyer, Maine political director of the Marijuana Policy Project. “They see it makes more sense to have marijuana regulated instead of keeping it legal.”
Boyer also said the campaign in Lewiston is hoping to mobilize young voters, especially Bates College students, to the cause.
“Younger folks see that marijuana prohibition hasn’t worked. It’s done nothing to stop the flow of marijuana into our communities. They see the effects of marijuana and alcohol firsthand and they realize that marijuana is safer than alcohol,” Boyer stated.
Alexandra Gwillim, a Bates College freshman, joined Boyer at the campaign yesterday.
[S]he said she supports the campaign because, “I think the prohibition of marijuana perpetuates the binge-drinking culture of college. Legalizing marijuana is a good way to end that.”
The campaign intends to increase its presence in Lewiston during the next month as part of an ongoing effort to educate voters about the advantages of ending marijuana prohibition.
Earlier this week, the City Council of Lewiston, Maine voted unanimously to send an initiative that would make possession of marijuana legal for adults to the voters.
Citizens for a Safer Maine submitted more than 1,250 signatures to get the measure in front of the council, which had the options of adopting it or placing it on the ballot. Just 859 valid signatures of registered city voters were required. A similar measure will appear on the November ballot in South Portland, and the group has submitted more than the number of signatures required to place one on the ballot in York.
The initiative would make it legal for adults 21 years of age and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana. It would remain illegal to consume or display marijuana in public. The measure also includes a statement in support of regulating and taxing marijuana like alcohol at the state level.
As we've reported previously, three cities in Maine could be voting this November on initiatives that would direct local police not to arrest adults age 21 and over for possession of small amounts of marijuana. Despite opposition from city government, law enforcement, and the Maine chapter of Project SAM, all three initiatives are gaining public support and making steady headway in the election process.
Earlier this month, activists in the town of Lewiston turned in more than enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. The city council is expected to place the petition on the ballot at their Sep. 2 meeting.
Last week, the South Portland city council voted to let the public decide the issue after voicing unanimous opposition. Supporters turned in more than 1,500 signatures in favor of the initiative.
And in York, after a second round of petitioning and being opposed by a majority of the Board of Selectman, the campaign turned in enough signatures to qualify for the ballot today. The press conference for the event was attended by supportive York Selectman Ronald Nowell.
If all goes well, Maine will have four localities where marijuana is legal for adults after Nov. 2, putting the state on the right track for passing a comprehensive measure to regulate marijuana like alcohol in 2016.
The good news: South Portland officials have informed us that we collected enough signatures to place an initiative on the November ballot that would make marijuana legal for adults. We also expect to qualify a similar measure in Lewiston next month.
The not-so-good (but not-too-bad) news: Getting on the ballot in York just got a little more difficult, and we need your help to do it. Last night, the town Board of Selectmen voted 3-2 against putting our measure on the ballot, which means we must collect 613 signatures within the next 30 days to get it on the November ballot.
There are two ways you can help us make this deadline:
1) Collect signatures — You don’t need to be a York resident to circulate a petition and putting in just a couple hours could make all the difference. Please contact Maine Political Director David Boyer at firstname.lastname@example.org to get a petition.
2) Donate — Make a financial contribution today to help us continue educating voters in all three cities about the benefits of ending marijuana prohibition.
Passing the initiatives in South Portland, Lewiston, and York will build the public support we need to legalize marijuana for adults at the state level in 2016. So, even if you don’t live in these cities, I hope you will join us in supporting these important campaigns.