City of South Portland Recreational Marijuana Legalization Measure (November 2014)

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A City of South Portland Recreational Marijuana Legalization Measure ballot question will be on the November 4, 2014 election ballot for voters in the city of South Portland in Cumberland County, Maine.

If approved, this measure would make it legal according to city law for an adult to possess and use up to 2.5 ounces of recreation marijuana. The measure is being sponsored and put on the ballot by the group Marijuana Policy Project. David Boyer, Maine’s political director for the national Marijuana Policy Project, announced on January 21, 2014, that the organization would attempt to put similar ballot measures on the ballots of three municipalities in Maine: Lewiston, South Portland and York.[1][2]

When asked why the Marijuana Policy Project chose the three communities announced, Boyer said that it was because South Portland neighbors Portland, win which a similar measure was approved in 2013, that Lewiston is viewed as a battleground for the governor's race and that York is close to potential initiatives in the future in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. South Portland police Chief Edward Googins said that ever since the ballot measure in Portland in 2013 he had been expecting a similar effort in his city.[1]

Background

Portland

David Boyer said that the Marijuana Policy Project plans to use questions similar to the successful 2013 Portland measure on its three announced local projects in Maine for 2014, which are Lewiston, South Portland and York.

The Portland question, Measure 1, had the following summary:

This ordinance legalizes the recreational use of marijuana by adults 21 years of age or older. It allows adults 21 years of age or older to legally possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and paraphernalia. It also allows adults 21 years of age or older to engage in activities for the purpose of ascertaining the possession of marijuana and paraphernalia. It prohibits recreational use activities in public spaces, school grounds, and on transportation infrastructure. It prohibits adults under 21 and minors from engaging in recreational use activities. Landlords and property owners may restrict the smoking of marijuana on their property by posting "No Smoking" signs near the entrances. It requires the Mayor to report annually on the implementation enforcement of the ordinance; allows city officers and employees to cooperate with federal drug enforcement authorities as required by law; and makes the City's disciplinary procedures for officers and employees the exclusive remedy for a violation of the ordinance. Finally it resolves to support taxation and regulation of marijuana by the State of Maine and Federal government.[3][4]

Support

Supporters

  • Marijuana Policy Project

Arguments in favor

David Boyer, political director of the Maine chapter of the Marijuana Policy Project, said, “Most people agree law enforcement officials have more important things to do than punish adults for using a substance that is less harmful than alcohol. If this measure passes, police can use their discretion to stop arresting adults for simple marijuana possession.” He continued, “It’s time to move beyond the status quo of prohibition and start making progress."[5]

He encouraged the city council to directly approved the initiative ordinance, saying, “This is an opportunity for council members to demonstrate leadership on [marijuana].”[5]

Path to the ballot

See also: Laws governing local ballot measures in Maine

On July 23, 2014, South Portland city officials announced that enough of the 1,500 signatures submitted by local marijuana supporters and Marijuana Policy Project were valid to qualify the legalization measure for the November ballot. Election law gives the city council until August 4 to enact the initiative ordinance without a vote of the people. Otherwise the measure will be decided by the voters.[5]

Boyer said, “Voters were very receptive during the signature drive.”[5]

Similar measures

Recreational

Colorado:

Defeatedd Town of Palmer Lake Marijuana Legalization Referendum (April 2014)

Maine:

Michigan:

Wisconsin:

Approveda Dane County State Legalization of Marijuana Referendum (April 2014)

Medical

California:

Approveda Lake County Marijuana Cultivation Ordinance 2997 Referendum, Measure N (June 2014)
Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot City of Imperial Beach "Compassionate Access Ordinance" Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Act (June 2014)
Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot City of Napa Medical Marijuana Dispensary Referendum (November 2014)


See also

External links

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