Prohibition

Erie City Council Votes Unanimously to Decriminalize Possession

Last week, the Erie, Pennsylvania, City Council voted unanimously to make the possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana into a summary offense with a $25 fine. Currently, the penalty is up to 30 days in jail, a $500 fine, or both. The mayor is expected to sign the measure into law.

Once enacted, Erie will join Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, York, and State College — and 22 states and the District of Columbia — all of which have stopped jailing individuals for possession of small amounts of marijuana. Across the state, towns and cities are considering similar commonsense policies. Unfortunately, however, law enforcement can still enforce state law and impose criminal penalties and possible jail time.

Imprisoning individuals for possessing small amounts of a substance that is safer than alcohol wastes valuable resources and can lead to a lifetime of harsh consequences, including denial of student financial aid, housing, employment, and professional licenses.

To get involved locally, contact the Keystone Cannabis Coalition. You can find some background materials on decriminalization here. And please let your lawmakers know it is time for statewide decriminalization.

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Prohibition

Another Pennsylvania City Decriminalizes Possession

Early this week in Pennsylvania, the York City Council voted to make the possession of small amounts of marijuana a summary offense with a maximum fine of $100 and no jail time. Previously, it was a criminal misdemeanor that carried up to 30 days in jail, a $500 fine, or both.

Imprisoning individuals for possessing small amounts of a substance that is safer than alcohol wastes valuable resources and can lead to a lifetime of harsh consequences, including denial of student financial aid, housing, employment, and professional licenses.

York joins Pennsylvania’s three largest cities — Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Harrisburg — and twenty-two states and the District of Columbia, which have stopped jailing individuals for possession of small amounts of marijuana. Across the state, towns and cities are considering similar commonsense policies. The time has come for statewide decriminalization.

To get involved locally, contact the Keystone Cannabis Coalition. You can find some background materials on decriminalization here.

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Prohibition

Complaint Filed Seeking to Force York to Include Marijuana Ballot Question

The Marijuana Policy Project filed a complaint Wednesday in the York County Superior Court calling for a temporary injunction that would require the York Board of Selectmen to place the query of recreational marijuana on the November ballot, according to the Portland Press Herald.

The board of selectman has twice refused to ask voters whether they want to allow the recreational use of marijuana, on the grounds that it is not lawful because the use of marijuana is still illegal under state law.

Regardless, supporters have collected close to 1,000 signatures on two separate petitions in their bid to put the question to town voters. However, the board voted 3-2 last week against sending the question to voters.

The right to petition your government is the bedrock of democracy. For the selectman to ignore the will of their constituents goes against what our country is all about and that is why I signed on to this case,” Sharon DaBiere of York, a plaintiff in the complaint, said in a statement issued by the Marijuana Policy Project.

David Boyer, Maine political director for the Marijuana Policy Project, thinks selectmen clearly went out of their way to disenfranchise York’s voters.

[caption id="attachment_8080" align="alignright" width="300"]David Boyer David Boyer[/caption]

“We cannot stand by and let elected officials try to silence the people of York who would like to see marijuana regulated like alcohol.”

In its court filing, an attorney working with Citizens for a Safer York asks that a hearing on the complaint be held by Friday.

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Prohibition

Another Maine City Puts Marijuana Initiative On Ballot

Sep 05, 2014 Morgan Fox

Lewiston, Maine, November, possession, South Portland, York

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.

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Prohibition

Local Legalization Initiatives Moving Forward in Maine 

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.

[caption id="attachment_7979" align="alignright" width="215"]Dave Safer sign David Boyer, MPP Maine Political Director[/caption]

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.

 

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Prohibition

Good News and Not-So-Good News in Maine

Jul 29, 2014 Morgan Fox

David Boyer, Lewiston, South Portland, York

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 dboyer@mpp.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.

 

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Prohibition||Tax and Regulate

MPP-backed initiative in York, Maine has been submitted to town hall

Jul 07, 2014 Kate Zawidzki

David Boyer, Maine, Portland, York

UPDATE: The York Board of Selectmen has scheduled a public hearing on the petition during their next meeting on Monday, July 28.

A petition that would allow adults to use marijuana has gotten the required amount of signatures and has been submitted to the Board of Selectmen, Seacoast Online reports. The Board of Selectmen in York is scheduled to consider and possibly take action on the petition later today. According to MPP Maine Political Director David Boyer, the petition needed 100 signatures in order to be submitted to the Board of Selectmen. It received 174 signatures and was submitted on June 19. Should the Board decide against holding a public hearing on the petition, advocates would have 30 days to collect 600 signatures in order to bring the petition to a public vote.

The petition, if passed, would allow York residents over 21 to use or be in possession of up to 1 ounce of marijuana. It would remove penalties for marijuana possession and allow individuals to consume it privately. Public use would still be prohibited, according to organizers. This is similar to an initiative that MPP helped to pass in Portland, Maine last year that allowed adults to be in possession of 2.5 ounces or less of marijuana. The decision on York’s petition is forthcoming and should be given by the end of the day.

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