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Portland (ME) Greens in Marijuana Legalization Referendum

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #775)
Drug War Issues

There is a marijuana legalization bill pending in the Maine legislature, but some activists in the state's largest city aren't waiting for elected officials to get the ball rolling. The Portland Green Independent Committee was set to deliver a request for a municipal legalization petition drive at the city clerk's office late last week.

"We are still waiting to hear back from corporation counsel," committee chair Tom MacMillan told the Portland Daily Sun. "We are going to begin collecting signatures soon on a citizens' initiative to legalize marijuana in the city of Portland."

Once the clerk certifies the petition, organizers will have 180 days to gather 1,500 valid voter signatures. If the signatures are approved, a citywide vote could happen as early as November.

The final language has yet to be approved, but the Greens are expected to call for the legalization of the possession of up to 2 ½ ounces, as well as the possession of pot-smoking paraphernalia. Under current Maine law, possession of up to 1 ¼ ounces is decriminalized, punishable as a civil infraction with a maximum fine of $250.

While Rep. Diane Russell (D-Portland) has prefiled a legalization bill (LR-21), the Greens aren't counting on it passing this year, and they aren't waiting to find out if it does.

"Any progress that we've seen on this has come from voters," Green Independent city councilor David Marshall told the Portland Press Herald Tuesday. And while Maine already has decriminalization, "It's still a crime. It still affects people's lives."

The timeline now is up to city officials, the Greens said. "We should probably see some of those petitions on the streets next week," Marshall predicted.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


BigRonMaine (not verified)

The City Municipal Authority does have the legal right to issue an ordinance on the matter.  However, the authority to allow that order to be enforced rests with the Cumberland County Commissioners. If any such ordinance is to effect the application of Law, the Cumberland County Sheriff is charged with the enforcement of the ordnance. His decision to enforce any city ordinance is weighed against the application of Law affecting his budget. Since the City maintains its' own Police force, the tax dollars paid to the County in contribution for the services provided can be offset from the application of ordinance. As to the application of Law, it is up to the municipal government as to what they are willing to pay for. The difficulty may come down to insurance and liability. Who would pay for consequences that result from the application or non-application in the absence of Law. I would expect that the Maine Municipal Association would want to weigh in on the matter of Insurance and if the City had applicable bond, they could proceed as they wanted. 

Sun, 03/10/2013 - 7:08pm Permalink
mexweedth (not verified)

A bill for "legalization of the possession of up to 2 ½ ounces, as well as the possession of pot-smoking paraphernalia" may be a good idea, but I wish it SOUNDED better.  Take a Freud's-Third-Ear listen to that big technocratic-sounding word there with the echoes of "Paranoia-Infernal-Alien" hidden in it to scare mothers and children.  And the potty-mouth word for "cannabis" which alliterates threateningly with the "poss..." and "para..." words.

Now in fact since 2007 we know "smoking" (Hot Burning Overdose Combustion) is bad for you but vaporizers exist-- and not only the $600 model, there is a simple method to vaporize with a cheap one-hitter as long as it has a long flexible DRAWTUBE attached so you can watch that your lighter flame is held at least 1 inch below the opening while you steadily suck 385F/197C air in-- More Marley, Less Monoxide). 

So how about the Portland Greens make an overt acknowledgement of this by advocating that possession of cannabis is LEGAL AS LONG AS coupled with possession of a verified VAPORIZING utensil?  For this purpose, a one-hitter is defined as having a screened vaping-crater 1/4" or less inner diameter with screen depth (distance from top opening) of 3/16"-- sized for 25-mg single-toke loadings of grindsifted herb (compared to 500-mg joint).  See sizing-diagram at"How to Make S---- Pipes from Everyday Objects."

Wider "pipe-bowl" dimensions than 1/4"-diam. make it more difficult to avoid combustion while still sucking hard enough to get vaporized product, thus big bowl pipes, like joints, burn (destroy) too much cannabinoid while delivering carbon monoxide and other combustion products to cause "smoking"-related behavior and health issues that slander the name of the good herb.

Good luck everybody.   I note that Republicans are identified with Big 2WackGo, Greens should be identified with neighborhood-based decentralized handworkerly single-toke-utensil manufacturing to eliminate deforestational $igarette papers within a generation.

Mon, 03/11/2013 - 8:23pm Permalink

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