Although we have suffered some set-backs, there is still hope for the people of Maine when it comes to cannabis. Our state legislators have refused to act, but some Maine residents are taking matters into their own hands with a campaign known as Legalize Maine. The fruits of their labor may be realized in Nov. 2016. This ballot initiative would, if approved by the voters, regulate and tax cannabis as a recreational drug.
The initiative would treat the plant like alcohol in most ways, though the amount of cannabis an individual is allowed to lawfully possess is still limited. Any adult aged 21 or older would be permitted to grow up to six plants and possess up to one ounce of cannabis as well. The state’s 5.5 percent sales tax as well would apply to the purchase or sale of the plant, as well as an additional 10 percent tax because cannabis would be treated as a controlled substance.
The Maine Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations would have the jurisdiction to regulate stores that sell marijuana products along with the cultivation of marijuana. It would also allow the Bureau to control the number of stores selling the product for three years and the number of farmers for five years. Municipalities are still allowed discretion over their cannabis policy, as they are able to decide whether or not to ban retail sales within their jurisdiction.
Marijuana tax revenue is distributed across the state in the following ways: The first $30 million dollars in tax revenue will be used for school construction across the state, and additional tax revenue will be put in the general fund. While this proposal may not be perfect, it is a huge quantum leap in the right direction. A regulated cannabis market beats the cruel and inhumane policies of prohibition any day.
If anyone would like to know more about this initiative. The Portland Press Harold published a great report in February that speaks more about Legalize Maine's efforts along with giving a great glimpse into the debate that is currently underway. It is fact and reason from the reformers versus dogma and ignorance from the drug warriors. Additional information regarding the Maine Marijuana Legislation Initiative can be found on Ballotpedia.
The legislators may be too scared to do the right thing when it comes to cannabis policy, but the democratic voice of the people can override their inaction. That is what can happen in Nov. 2016 if the efforts of Legalize Maine can gather the 61,123 signatures needed to get it on the ballot and it is approved by voters. Then, we would truly be one step closer to Peace on our Streets.