House Rejects Marijuana Legalization Efforts in Maine

Posted by Sagar Satapathy on June 22, 2015.

The Lawmakers in Maine, have rejected a bill that would have legalized recreational marijuana in the state. The bill will go to Republican-dominated Senate, but it might suffer the similar fate. The bill, LD 1380, was introduced by Democratic Rep. Diane Russel, a long-time supporter of marijuana legalization. It sought to allow adults 21 and older to possess and use marijuana for non-medical purposes.

The bill will now to the Republican-dominated Senate, but it might suffer a similar fate there too. The bill was aimed at setting up a system to allow marijuana to be regulated, taxed and sold like alcohol. Currently, 23 States in USA and D.C. have legalized medical marijuana. Colorado, Washington, Alaska and Oregon have already allowed recreational pot, while D.C. is awaiting the Congress nod.

The Democratic-controlled state House in Maine rejected the legislation by 98-45 margin. It was supposed to establish a framework for such a law to be enacted. The voters' approval still hold the key in either case. “We have learned so much from Colorado and Washington state, but the biggest thing we have learned is to not get caught off guard,” Russell said last month in favor of the bill.

Some Lawmakers defended their stand, saying the rejected the bill, as they did not want to take any decision in haste without reading the people's mind. Marijuana legalization will go the voters in 2016, thanks to the state approval of a petition by pro-marijuana group in April 2015. The group will need 61,000 signatures by January 22 to get the referendum on November 2016 ballot. It can be noted that Maine had legalized medical marijuana in 1999.

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