Marijuana opponents concede ballot measure in Maine

Posted by Sagar Satapathy on December 23, 2016.

The marijuana legalization initiative in Maine has survived a recount as the opponents of the ballot measure conceded to the Yes on 1 campaign on Saturday, according to the Maine Secretary of State's Office. The move has cleared the way for Maine to become the latest state to allow marijuana for recreational purposes.

On Election Day 2016, Maine voters passed the legalization initiative by margin of 4,073 votes. The tally on Question 1 was 381,647 in favor and 377,574 opposed, with 50.27 percent in favor of legalization. That narrow margin prompted opponents of legalization, organized as Mainers Protecting Our Youth and Communities, to ask the secretary of state to conduct a statewide recount.

"Marijuana will soon be legal in Maine," said David Boyer, campaign manager for the "yes" side. "We are grateful that the No on 1 campaign has conceded and look forward to working together towards a successful implementation of Question 1."

The recount tally on Question 1 is expected to be released sometime mid-week .The next step in the legalization process is for Gov. Paul LePage to send a proclamation to Dunlap affirming the validity of the election within 10 days after the secretary of state certifies the results. The law will be enacted in 30 days. That would put the law's effective date at the end of the January.

The law will allow the people of 21 years old or above to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and to grow a small amount for personal use. Marijuana social clubs would also be allowed.

Marijuana supporters believe the legalization of marijuana for recreational purpose will replace a dangerous underground market with a system of licensed businesses, raise millions in tax revenue, and create thousands of employment opportunities in the state.

Notably, medical marijuana has been allowed in Maine since 1999.

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