“Support for changing our marijuana laws is growing as more and more elected officials realize it makes no sense to maintain a system of prohibition for a substance that is objectively less harmful than alcohol,” said David Boyer, Maine political director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP).
“Maine can and should take a more sensible approach to marijuana policy, and we are glad to see so many legislators agree,” Boyer said of the bipartisan group of 35 cosponsors.
LD 1229 would make the private possession and home cultivation of limited amounts of cannabis legal for adults 21 and older. It would direct the Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services to license and regulate marijuana retail stores, cultivation facilities, product manufacturing facilities, and testing facilities, and it would enact an excise tax of $50 per ounce on wholesale sales.
The bill would also allow the state to begin regulating the cultivation, processing, and distribution of industrial hemp.
“By regulating marijuana like alcohol we can take sales out of the underground market, generate millions of dollars in new tax revenue, and allow law enforcement to focus on serious crimes,” Boyer said. “Marijuana is far safer than alcohol for consumers and the community, and it is time for our state to start treating it that way.”
If state lawmakers approve the bill this session, it will be referred to voters in the upcoming November election. If the measure gets carried over and approved during the next legislative session, it will be placed on the November 2014 ballot.
You can view the entire bipartisan list of 35 cosponsors by clicking here.