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Marijuana: Lowest Priority Initiatives Coming to Maine

Maine is set to become the latest state to try passing local initiatives to make adult marijuana use the lowest law enforcement priority. A state group with affiliations with the Marijuana Policy Project, the Maine Marijuana Policy Initiative (MMPI), has submitted petitions to officials in five western Maine towns, and is already set to go to the polls in Sumner. Town meetings in Farmington, Paris, West Paris and Athens, where petitions have been delivered to local officials, may also consider the initiatives next year.

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Maine activists are starting small, but thinking big, MMPI executive director Jonathan Leavitt told the Associated Press. "The purpose of the ordinance is to let the county, state and federal government know that many people believe the marijuana laws are not working," Leavitt said.

Lowest priority initiatives have proven extremely successful since first pioneered in Seattle in 2003. Cities that have passed such initiatives now include Oakland, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, and Santa Monica, California; as well as Columbia, Missouri; Eureka Springs, Arkansas; and Missoula, Montana.

But Farmington, Maine, Police Chief Richard Caton didn't think much of the idea. Who knows what kind of people might be attracted to town, he warned the AP. Also, the chief said, police would be caught between local and state and federal law. "A better way, if this is the sentiment of the people, is to change the state and federal laws," he said.

The Maine lowest priority ordinances would prohibit communities from accepting federal funds that would be used to enforce the marijuana laws and would require police to submit reports on the number and type of marijuana arrests to each municipality that adopts the ordinance, he said. Municipal officials would be required to notify state and federal officials they want to see marijuana taxed and regulated, not prohibited.

Lt. Hart Daley of the Oxford County Sheriff's Department didn't like the sound of that. "We still consider drug offenses on the top of the list of our priorities," Daley said.

Attitudes like Daley's are why local initiatives are only the beginning.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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adult pot use

the comments from the cops about it already being a low priority is a bunch of crap! (at least here in rumford,me!) i was arrested in my own home for smoking pot, and was treated like a common criminal(along with my wife!) i'm 52 years old, have honestly never done any other kind of drug(ever!) , and they think its a gateway drug? i smoke pot only occassionaly,as a matter of fact, about 1 1/2 yrs. ago i got hurt at work, and of course had to give them a urine test, and it came back negative! but when i was arrested, they through the book at me. one count of possession of pot, possession of paraphanelia, furnishing pot, and furnishing para.(we were having a dinner party with one other couple in our house!) oh, by the way, the furnishing charges are criminal! i had to get a lawyer, who did manage to get the furnishing charges dropped, but i still got fined (ready?) $500 for each possession charge, plus court cost. and when they write up the charges for the local papers, it reads " sale and possession of paraphanelia" . now , i would like anybody out there, police or citizen, criminal or not, to tell me exactly what it was that i did wrong, in my own home? oh yea, and by the way, the funny thing was, when the other couple got to our house, of course out came the wine, junk food , etc, which we all four consummed, and then he asked us if we wanted to smoke a joint. so i said yes, but we'll smoke our own because i dont like passing joints back and forth because of health reasons. they agreed . so, we smoked ours, they smoked theres. fifteen min. later, he fell on the floor, i thought he was having a heart attack, so i called 911. they asked me what i thought was wrong and wanted to know what we were doing, and (how stupid!) i told them the truth! we were drinking a little wine, smoking a little pot. and thats all it took. 2 cop cars came up to my house, and the cop in charge said if i didnt sign the waiver, than he would put a cop in my house and go get a search warrant. so i signed it. i didnt know that he could not put a cop in my house. so , he lied to me.had i of known , i would of told him to get off my property untill he gets a warrent! but this whole episode cost me $3400! and what did it do? i still smoke a little pot. i will never and have no desire to do any other kind of drug, and it has made me bitter toward any cop. i cant stand the sight of them, although i know they have a job to do too. now, i know pot is illegel. what would have been a proper thing for a cop to do in my situation? well, for starters, he could of looked the situation over , and said " why dont you just give me your pot, i'll charge you with a simple possession charge, and you folks get on with your dinner party". i dont think that would of been too unreasonable. but live and learn. never, never trust a cop!!!!

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