Voters in Portland, Maine Expect Police to Comply on Marijuana Legalization Ordinance, Says City Councilor

Police said the vote changed nothing for them


mountain won't come to you
Chuck Homler/Wikipedia

Last week, Portland, Maine was one of several municipalities in the country to vote overwhelmingly in favor of ordinances purporting to decriminalize or legalize the possession and recreational use of certain amounts of marijuana. Police pushed back. In Portland, where the ordinance eliminated local penalties, police pointed to state laws they would continue to issue citations under, saying they had no problem with the vote because it didn't change anything.

Supporters of the ordinance aren't having it. Via the Bangor Daily News:

In a statement Friday, Tom MacMillan, chairman of the Portland Green Independent Committee, which campaigned for the ordinance, said, "The vote on Tuesday was a clear indication that Portland residents want our police force to stop punishing adult marijuana users. The police have the discretion to do so while still enforcing city, state and federal rules for public use, use under 21 and possession over 2.5 ounces. Portland officials must be accountable to the will of the people."

"It is very encouraging that marijuana possession citations have decreased by 26 percent over a period of a year," City Councilor David Marshall said in the release. "The voters expect the public and the police to comply with the ordinance when it goes into effect. The election results are a mandate that supports the discretion police are using in regards to adult marijuana possession."

Compliance: for police too.

NEXT: Christian Charity Turns Away Atheist Group's Offer to Help

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. I don't know where that picture was taken, but it wasn't anywhere near Portland Maine.

    1. Maine. Oregon. Whatever.

      1. View from I-295 in Maine. Mount Washington

        1. I lived there for years and I'm not seeing it.

            1. I'm with Sarc on this one.

              Taken from the Western Prom (which is nearly on the coast) and looking over I295 would require a 45 mile view to the nearest "mountain."

              1. I just found where he got it from. Maine is just a wasteland of broken L.L. Bean dreams for all I care.

                1. L.L. Bean is in Freeport YOU IDIOT

                  True story: the Freeport L.L. Bean outlet is open 24/7, 365 days a year. Not sure why, but it is and they're proud of it. They also have a 100% satisfaction guarantee. So one year when I was traveling up to my friend's camp near Augusta, I decided to test it out. I had a Leatherman utility tool that I had bought through L.L. Bean mail order when I was a kid, and the awl on it had snapped. So I was passing by Freeport on 95 at 3 in the morning, and I stopped in. They were open. I had no receipt. I told the kid at the service desk that I had bought the Leatherman from them and it had broken. He got a new one and handed it to me and sent me on my way, no questions, no fuss. That's what I call customer service.

                  1. That's what I call customer service.

                    It comes at a price. Their stuff is ridiculously expensive. Then again, my L.L.Bean parka is worth every penny of the two bills I paid for it.

                  2. I just saw an article about this a few weeks ago. Here it is.

                    I don't think that would be a good policy for every retailer, but it works for LL Bean.

                  3. A lot more places used to do that. EMS used to. I had a friend who returned a ski jacket after using it for a season and they put it back on the rack.
                    Sears used to do it for tools, back when they actually made decent tools.

              2. Open up the picture to full size and you can see an exit sign on the bottom to So Portland, so it's legit. I still never recall seeing a snow topped mountain in the years I lived in that city.

                1. Snow? That looked like dead trees in the article photograph to me.

                  1. *Yes I mean on the distant brown mountain, not just the winterized trees around the houses.

                2. Must be climate change

            2. I'm still not seeing it. Must have been one heck of a clear day.

              1. I found another similar but different picture. I'm surprised as well.

                1. Then again I was always at ground level, and those pics are obviously elevated. I'm sure that makes a difference.

                  1. I'm bitter for being proven wrong but will be the bigger man and only deduct partial points from Ed for posting a picture of a mountain in New Fucking Hampshire in a Maine post.

            3. It's definitely Mt Washington. All the Portland, Maine TV stations broadcast from Mt. Washington, so there must be a pretty good line of sight.

        2. I had no idea MW was that visible that far East.

  2. They have Sanctuary Cities for illegal immigrants; I wonder if the same concept could apply to illegal drugs?

  3. Here's the problem. There is no "ordinance going into effect". This is a repeal. As much as supporters might want this perceived as a "mandate for discretion", the cops will ignore that until the chief buys in.

    So if they're really serious, they'll fire the chief.

  4. $7.50 an hour minimum wage is also state law if the taxpayers want to be technical you stupid chief.

  5. I'm sure they'll be happy to accept his resignation if he doesn't want to follow orders.

  6. It's funny how they think the police are somehow beholden to the voters.

  7. "It also says here that it's illegal to put squirrels down your pants for the purposes of gambling."

    1. Also for the purposes of Gamboling.

      1. How could anyone gambol WITHOUT squirrels down their pants?

        The mind positively boggles.

        1. Others prefer gerbils. Many women use hamsters, in a pinch.

    2. "he gets results, you stupid chief!"

    3. According to the town charter, as town constable, Wiggum gets a pig every month, as well, as "two comely lasses of virtue true".

      "Hey, how many broads do I get?"

  8. I thought I had heard that Portland police were often dicks about carrying concealed, even though state-issued CCW is valid in Portland under the law. Sounds like the Portland police think they can do whatever they feel like.

    Too bad, Portland is a very nice town. I've sailed out of the bay there.

    1. Open carry is legal in Maine, but don't try it in Portland. The police will take the weapon, arrest you for Disorderly Conduct or some other catchall, let you go the next day, and then laugh in your face when you ask for your weapon back. They know it will cost you more to hire a lawyer than it will for you to replace it. Fuck you, that's why.

      1. Was it open carry? I guess that makes sense.

        That makes the Portland police sound much like the Seattle police. Open carry is legal in Washington, but if you do it in Seattle, you are going to get very unwanted police attention.

        1. Step out with a visible piece, and the 911 switchboard will be instantly full.

          What they should do is politely inform the caller that open carry is perfectly legal, but they don't. They take it as an opportunity to add a new gun to their collection.

  9. Is this really an example of police asshattedness or is it an example of law supremacy? Tomorrow, a state or municipality could make it illegal to be black, but does that automatically force the police to enforce?

    This seems like a simple thing to fix. Take the cops to court, and a judge will determine whether or not the State law (or federal) has supremacy, right?

    1. Is this really an example of police asshattedness or is it an example of law supremacy?


  10. Following the links, there's a sample ballot with the ordinance on page 2:


    One clause says the ordinance doesn't prevent cops from cooperating with *federal* drug authorities when required by law.

    Another clause says "The City of Portland, through adoption of this Ordinance, resolves to support legislation and laws to tax and regulate marijuana by the State of Maine and the Federal Government."

    So on the one hand the cops are expressly allowed to cooperate with the feds when legally required, with no mention of cooperating with state authorities. But it also says it supports federal and state laws "to tax and regulate" MJ.

    This looks like it gives the local cops room to enforce the state laws.

  11. Of course, the cops would have more credibility if they were in the habit of consistently enforcing all laws, even against themselves and their buddies. For them to start going "ve didn't make de laws, ve only enforce zem, gesetz est gesetz," doesn't sound good.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.