Maine push for legalization

Legalize Maine, a newly formed political action committee, is launching “a home-grown effort” to legalize marijuana in the state of Maine. The group’s organizer, Paul McCarrier, said Wednesday that its proposal can help revive the state’s rural economy.

The group’s organizer, Paul McCarrier, told the Portland Press-Herald, that its proposal can help revive the state’s rural economy.
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“We’re doing this for Maine people and to focus on rural farming,” McCarrier says of the effort. “Our goal is a rural economic revival. Rural Maine is dying and we need to stop that. Marijuana is not the golden ticket, but it’s part of the solution.”

The effort is separate from another group effort to legalize recreational marijuana in the state, and it could lead to two separate legalization proposals for voters to choose from in 2016.

The propose law would allow adults over the age of 21 to possess an unlimited amount of marijuana in their homes, and carry up to 2.5 ounces outside of private residences. Adults who grow their own could also have as many as six flowering plants, 12 non-flowering plants and an unlimited number of seedlings.

To keep the money in the communities, it would require growers to obtain a cultivation license issued by the state and get permission from the municipality.  75% of the licenses would go to small-scale farmers, which the group says would prevent large, out-of-state growers from taking over the market. It would also require people who want to make marijuana edibles to obtain a processing license that would allow them to sell the finished product at retail stores or social clubs. Social clubs could get special permits.

Marijuana sales would be taxed at 8% the same rate as prepared food, lodging and liquor.

McCarrier said the plan includes strong language about local control, creating a model ordinance for towns that want to limit where commercial facilities would be located, although towns could not ban people from growing in private residences.

The newly unveiled proposal already faces opposition from Smart Approaches to Marijuana Maine, an anti-drug group with a national presence composed of anti-drug figureheads. Former Rhode Island Democratic Rep. Patrick Kennedy co-founded SAM with Dr. Kevin Sabet, a former senior policy advisor to Obama drug czar Gil Kerlikowske. Former Bush speechwriter and columnist David Frum is also on Project SAM’s board of directors.

The same national group recently established a front in the state of Vermont aimed at delaying a vote on legalization.

  • Dodie Peterson

    As a former Maine resident, I have to admit that this is probably true. Much of Maine is extremely rural – farm country, if you will. Marijuana as a crop would help Maine’s economy.