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Maine Recreational Marijuana Legalization Measure, LD 1229 (2013)

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The Maine Recreational Marijuana Legalization Measure, also known as LD 1229, did not appear on the November 5, 2013 ballot in Maine as a legislatively-referred state statute. This measure, which was sponsored by Rep. Diane Russell (D-120) in the legislature, would have asked voters whether or not to end the state's prohibition of marijuana and make its recreational use legal.[1] Though this measure was referred to as a referendum because it would ask voters a question to be answered via an up or down vote, it was actually a legislatively-referred state statute since it was up to the legislature to decide whether or not to send the question to the ballot.

Text of measure

The language that voters would have seen on the ballot reads as follows:[2]

Do you favor allowing adults 21 years of age and older to engage in the personal use of marijuana, regulating commercial marijuana-related activities and imposing a tax on the sale of marijuana?

Yes ___

No ___[3]

Background

LD 1229 evolved from a more extensive bill that addressed the issues of taxing and regulating marijuana into a single question asking whether or not the drug's recreational use should be legalized. This measure was supported by both Democrats and Republicans. Rep. Diane Russell previously proposed a similar marijuana bill in a previous session of the legislature, where it was defeated by a significant margin.[4]

Support

Rep. Diane Russell sponsored the bill.[1] Ashley Ryan, a national committeewoman for Maine's Republican Party, supported the legalization of marijuana, though she did not specifically comment on the ballot measure. She said, "As a fiscal conservative I’m very concerned about useless government programs that create waste and waste taxpayer dollars and increase the deficit." Ryan contended that the "War on Drugs" is a losing battle that is costing taxpayers money.[5]

Opposition

Robert Schwartz, executive director of the Maine Chiefs of Police Association, spoke out against the bill. Schwartz feared that legalizing marijuana in the state would compel illegal drug dealers from outside states to bring their trade to Maine, saying, "Maine would be a launching pad for illicit marijuana across the Northeast. Substance abuse counselors have also spoken out against the measure.[5] He, too, did not specifically comment on the ballot measure.


Path to the ballot

See also: Legislatively-referred state statute

If the bill had been approved by the legislature, it would have been sent to the 2013 ballot in November.[1] However, on Friday, June 7, 2013, the bill failed to pass the House by four votes.[4]

Similar measures

See also

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External links

References