Portland, Maine Residents Will Vote on Marijuana Legalization

Jul 16, 2013 , , , , , , ,

Portland, Maine may become the first city to defy both state and national marijuana laws. Following a vote by City Council on Monday, July 15, voters residing within city limits will have the opportunity to decide whether to remove all penalties for possession of up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana for adults 21 and older.

Portland’s City Council voted 5-1 to send the citizen-initiated marijuana legalization ordinance to voters on a November ballot, rather than immediately adopting it. The ordinance received twice as many signatures as was required.

Regina Phillips
Regina Phillips, with MPP’s David Boyer (back right)

About a dozen speakers delivered presentations during the hearing and a pre-hearing press conference, including Portland City Councilor Dave Marshall, the Marijuana Policy Project’s Maine political director David Boyer, Maine NAACP Executive Committee member Regina Phillips, and Bob Talbot of the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine.

Phillips highlighted the racial disparities in the enforcement of marijuana laws. She cited recent FBI statistics showing that blacks in Maine are more than twice as likely as whites to be arrested for marijuana possession, despite similar use rates. “It has begun to feel like locking up young black men has become a national pastime,” she said.

Boyer and City Councilor Marshall emphasized the ineffectiveness of prohibition, the extreme financial costs of enforcement, and the fact that marijuana is objectively safer than alcohol.

“No one’s ever died from a lethal amount of pot,” Marshall told council members at the pre-hearing press conference. “Factually, [marijuana] is safer than alcohol. It doesn’t make logical sense for it to be illegal.”

Currently, Maine is one of 18 states to permit medical marijuana. Recent efforts to legalize marijuana statewide have been accelerating: LD 1229, a bill to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol, was only narrowly defeated in the Maine legislature.


3 responses to “Portland, Maine Residents Will Vote on Marijuana Legalization”

  1. As a matter of policy, the balance of power in Federal-State relations can be a little bit tricky.

    However, the relationship between State governments and Municipalities is crystal clear: local governments are creatures of the State. Full stop. If Portland legalized, Maine would be within its duly-constituted powers to sanction them in any way: they could abolish Portland as an independent jurisdiction, if they so desired.

    To understand the relationship between States and Localities, see Dillon’s Rule.

    For an example of the extreme powers that a State has over its cities, towns, and counties, refer to the recent example of Michigan vs. Detroit.

  2. It was George Bush I, your favorite resident, Maine…who first went after young black me IN FORCE to fill the populations of prisons HE planned to build in rural outcrops to stimulate the GROWTH of Republican based voters.

    How’s that for a way to stimulate the economy and provide jobs.

    Instead of creating ethical jobs for unemployed black men in this country, George Bush I created a monstrosity of tentacles designed to capture residents for prisons now run by corporations.

    And, who were the lowest hanging fruit to capture in this demented web of deceit, a totally un-American scheme to enrich our numbers of prison inmates, to the detriment of our black teen-agers, who then toil as sources of prison labor in our corporate, for profit, body-snatch’n prison system?

    You guessed it…kids who get caught dealing Medical Marijuana (Med Mj) to other teens without a license.

    Which is why it is so imperative to get the Med Mj off the street and into the regulated marketplace of Medical Marijuana dispensaries.

    Now, setting up dispensaries for adults over the age of 21 is a “whole nother smoke”.

    Which is what the City of Portland, Maine is attempting to do.

    And, for that debate, we shall look to both Colorado and Washington State come January 1st, 2014.

    In the interim, if the founding fathers of the City of Portland wish to place the question on the ballot this November, then by all means, have a vote.

    But, that is not going to stop “Los Federales” from busting their supply of “low hanging fruit”.

    Black kids, with the new “Stand Your Ground” gun laws that have swept the country, are now even more at risk than Barack O’bama was ever during his toking days in Hawaii.

    Robert Hempaz, PhD Trichometry™
    Follow me on Twitter @hempaz

  3. Robert,

    Did you hear about the Black man who recently used the stand your ground defense against a white guy?


    Or how about this one http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jul/28/trayvon-martin-3-black-men-beat-rob-white-man-dc/

    And Robert. Black people have way more to fear from black people than from white people when it comes to general violence. But I am with you on the racism of Drug Prohibition. End Prohibition NOW!

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