Maine legalization bill rejected by legislature


A bill that would have legalized marijuana in Maine (albeit with some rather heavy restrictions) will not be seeing any action this year in the state legislature.
The ‘Act to Align Maine’s Marijuana Laws with the Guidelines Governing Taxation and Regulation Issued by the Federal Government” last night failed to make it through a ten-member council charged with approving bills for consideration in the coming legislation session.

The proposal, introduced by Portland Rep. Dianne Russell, would have legalized the possession of up to 2.5 ounce of pot as well as the cultivation of up to six plants. Though the bill did have some problems, namely allowing local police to issue permits to private growers, essentially tracking who is growing cannabis and where. That and the 25 percent tax on cannabis, with ten percent of that in sales tax coming directly from the consumers.
The bill wouldn’t have touched the medical marijuana program, however.
Some were against it for other reasons, including local medical marijuana caregivers who said the bill was nothing more than a money-grab by out-of-state interests even though the bill required a two-year residency before you could own a dispensary.
Regardless, the bill can’t be brought up again until 2015 according to theHuffington Post..
“I appreciate the bipartisan members who voted with everyday Mainers,” Russell told HuffPo. “It’s disappointing that we were one vote shy, but we will continue to work toward a pragmatic approach that will protect children while also protecting the liberties of our citizens.”
Currently, 2.5 ounces or less is considered a civil violation in Maine with $600 in fines (Portland has legalized possession up to that amount). More than 2.5 ounces and less than 8 ounces is a misdemeanor with six months in jail and $1,000 in fines. Get caught with a pound and you start getting into felonies with five years in the slammer. Cultivation of five plants or less is a misdemeanor with up to six months in jail and $1,000 in fines. Grow 100 plants or more and you’ll be doing felony time.
Maine does allow for the medical use of cannabis.