Maine moving towards legalizing Recreational Marijuana
Posted by Sagar Satapathy on March 24, 2015.
Maine, which legalized medical marijuana way back in 1999 with 61 percent approval from the residents, is moving ahead with the plan to allow recreational marijuana in the state. While 23 States in the U.S. have so far legalized medical marijuana, Colorado has approved the use of recreational marijuana in the state. In addition, Alaska, Oregon and Washington, D.C. have expressed their desire to legalize recreational use of marijuana.
Although two pro-marijuana groups in Maine have launched a massive campaign, asking residents to legalize recreational consumption in 2016, they stand divided and working independently to outwit each other. The Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), which played a key role in Colorado’s legalization efforts, has been actively involved in pro-marijuana campaign in Maine too.
Paul McCarrier, president of Legalize Maine, is not happy about the steps being undertaken by Marijuana Policy Project, saying the people of Maine do not need a group from Washington, D.C., to dictate its terms. "We need what's best for us," he said. Although his group supports the legalization of marijuana, he does not want other groups to get involved in this initiative. But, MPP wants its proposal to go before the voters early next year.
The proposals of Legalize Maine and Marijuana Policy Project differ on a key issue. Legalize Maine wants provisions that would allow growers to sell cannabis directly to consumers and create marijuana social clubs. But, Marijuana Policy Project does not have these provisions. Each petition would need over 61,000 signatures to secure a place on the 2016 ballot.
Maine is among 19 American states that have decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana and does not have provisions to impose jail term on such users.