Maine Considers Public Vote on Marijuana Legalization After Bill Fails

Smoke out the opposition


A bid to legalize recreational use of marijuana in Maine was imperiled by a strong negative vote Tuesday in the Legislature's Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, though the bill's sponsor, Rep. Diane Russell, D-Portland, insisted that the issue is not dead.

With two members absent, the committee voted 8-3 against LD 1229, An Act to Regulate and Tax Marijuana. The three lawmakers in the minority, led by Rep. Corey Wilson, R-Augusta, said they would urge the full Legislature to place a general referendum question about legalizing recreational use of marijuana on this November's statewide ballot.

Those who voted against the bill cited numerous reasons ranging from being uncomfortable with legalized marijuana to worries about state government's ability to develop a framework to regulate it in a timely manner.

"This bill proposes sweeping changes in terms of public safety, public health and tax policy," said Rep. Mark Dion, D-Portland, a retired police officer who co-chairs the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee and who was instrumental in lobbying for the state's medical marijuana law. "I would move with a lot more trepidation today than I did in 1999 [during the medical marijuana debate]. In good conscience I cannot support the sweeping changes in this bill. This requires a lot of work."

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  1. The best thing to do is vote this Wilson and the other 7 that voted this down out of office when they run again.

  2. Prohibitionism is intensely, rabidly, frantically, frenetically, hysterically anti-freedom, anti-public-health, and anti-economical.

    Like despicable, playground bullies, prohibitionists are vicious one moment, then full of self-pity the next. They whine and whinge like lying, spoilt brats, claiming they just want to “save the little children”, but the moment they feel it safe to do so, they use brute force and savage brutality against those they claim to be defending.

    Prohibitionists actually believe that they can transcend human nature and produce a better world. They allow only one doctrine, an impossible-to-obtain drug-free world. All forms of dissent, be they common-sense, scientific, constitutional, or democratic, are simply ignored, and their proponents vehemently persecuted.

    During alcohol prohibition (1919-1933), all profits went to enrich thugs and criminals. While battling over turf, young men died, every day, on inner-city streets. Corruption in Law Enforcement and the Judiciary went clean off the scale. A fortune was wasted on enforcement that could have been far more wisely allocated. On top of the budget-busting prosecution and incarceration costs, billions in taxes were lost. Finally, in 1929, the economy collapsed. Does that sound familiar?

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