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OfflineNizzyJones
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[Maine] Bill legalizes posession, growing of marijuana
    #549038 - 04/21/11 05:51 PM (5 years, 7 months ago)

http://www.kjonline.com/news/bill-legalizes-posession-growing-of-marijuana_2011-04-20.html

Bill legalizes posession, growing of marijuana

BY CLARKE CANFIELD
Associated Press

PORTLAND -- Mainers would be allowed to legally possess and grow marijuana under a bill proposed in the Legislature, but opponents say it's a bad idea.

A bill unveiled Wednesday would legalize the personal use and private and commercial cultivation of marijuana and tax consumer purchases at 7 percent. Democratic Rep. Diane Russell of Portland, who is sponsoring the bill, said it's time to stop turning otherwise law-abiding citizens who use marijuana into criminals.

Legalizing pot would generate taxes, create jobs and free up legal and public safety resources to focus on more pressing issues, Russell said. She maintained her bill would also restrict access to minors by regulating marijuana sales and taking it out of the hands of drug dealers.

"It is absolutely irresponsible for society to continue burying our heads in the sand and pretending our current policy works," Russell said at a press conference to unveil her bill. "Too much is at stake to continue pretending this is just a joke from the latest reefer madness movie."

Opponents say increasing access to drugs is bad policy.

Robert Schwartz, executive director of the Maine Chiefs of Police Association, said marijuana use leads to other drugs and creates public safety problems with people driving under the influence. He disagreed with Russell's contention that legalizing pot would make it harder for young people get their hands on it.

Additionally, the law would conflict with federal law, resulting in confusing and contradictory sets of rules, he said.

"We have a lot of problems with legalizing marijuana," Schwartz said. "There're all kinds of ramifications."

Maine voters in 2009 approved a statewide referendum that changed Maine's decade-old medical marijuana law by expanding the conditions under which people could be prescribed the drug to ease pain, while allowing retail dispensaries where patients could legally buy pot with a doctor's prescription.

Russell's bill would allow Mainers 21 and older to possess up to 1 pound of marijuana and legally smoke or ingest it in nonpublic places, including private residences. People could grow pot within 75 square feet of space for personal consumption and within 2,000 square feet of space for commercial cultivation.

She estimated that marijuana sales would generate $8.5 million in sales taxes each year, and an undetermined amount of income taxes for people who make money off it.

She envisions small-scale growers across Maine cultivating the plants and selling the finished product to consumers.

Her bill is co-sponsored by both Republicans and Democrats, and representatives from the Maine Civil Liberties Union and the Maine Marijuana Policy Initiative spoke in favor of the bill at Wednesday's press conference. Still, she knows there will be opposition from other legislators.

A spokesman for the attorney general's office said Wednesday that Attorney General William Schneider opposes the bill and does not favor legalizing marijuana.


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OfflineShaggy420
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Re: [Maine] Bill legalizes posession, growing of marijuana [Re: NizzyJones]
    #549279 - 04/22/11 02:04 PM (5 years, 7 months ago)

1 pound :eek:

whats the chances of this passing?


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OfflineNizzyJones
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Re: [Maine] Bill legalizes posession, growing of marijuana [Re: Shaggy420]
    #549403 - 04/22/11 06:06 PM (5 years, 7 months ago)

Quote:

TrippyStoner420 said:
1 pound :eek:

whats the chances of this passing?




Slim to none (though it does have bi-partisan sponsors). It might make it easier to go out and get signatures for a ballot initiative though - I'm betting that's Maine Common Sense's plan for next year.

Edit: it's going to be printed as 'LD 1453' for anyone who wants to follow it up on MaineLegislature.org


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OfflineNizzyJones
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Re: [Maine] Bill legalizes posession, growing of marijuana [Re: NizzyJones]
    #549410 - 04/22/11 06:17 PM (5 years, 7 months ago)

Also, if you pull up the complete text of the bill you might not notice this executive summary which is appended to the bottom:
Quote:

summary

This bill reforms state marijuana laws by establishing a special tax rate for marijuana, legalizing the personal use and cultivation of marijuana, legalizing and licensing certain commercial marijuana-related activities, while providing provisions to protect minors, employers and schools, and removing the registry system from the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act.

Part A of the bill establishes a tax rate of 7%, beginning January 1, 2012, for marijuana that is sold for commercial or medical purposes. It directs the State Controller to distribute the revenue generated by the tax equally among specific programs that benefit farmers, preserve land, assist law enforcement, provide aid to a state weatherization program and support higher education. It directs the Department of Administrative and Financial Services, Bureau of Revenue Services to report annually, beginning January 30, 2013, the amount of tax revenue generated and the amount distributed to each program to the joint standing committees of the Legislature having jurisdiction over appropriations and financial affairs and taxation matters. The bill directs the Bureau of Revenue Services to review methods for ensuring that all marijuana that is sold in the State is assessed and to report its findings and recommendations to the Joint Standing Committee on Taxation. The bureau must submit the report and any necessary legislation by November 1, 2011.

Part B of the bill allows a person 21 years of age or older to possess, purchase and use marijuana within certain limits and to cultivate a limited amount of marijuana for personal use. It allows a person to possess up to one pound of marijuana, possess marijuana paraphernalia and an incidental amount of marijuana. It allows a person to cultivate and store marijuana for personal use within 75 square feet of space and to purchase up to 2 1/2 ounces of marijuana or seedlings from someone who is licensed to sell these products. The bill includes restrictions that impose the same limitations on use that apply to tobacco. It requires those cultivating marijuana to secure it from access by unauthorized persons and access by minors. It also provides protections for schools and employers.

It includes specific requirements for the operations of commercial marijuana-related activities regarding the location of operations, security measures and record keeping as well as requirements for the licensee such as residency for a year prior to applying for a license. It allows a licensee up to 2,000 square feet of space for commercial marijuana cultivation and allows a licensee to sell no more than 2 1/2 ounces to any one individual per week. It limits the number of licenses as determined by department rule in the first year and requires that provisional licenses be automatically granted for dispensaries and persons who are registered as primary caregivers on June 30, 2011. It provides a funding mechanism for regulation of commercial marijuana-related activities. It provides special protections for minors, employers and schools.

Part C of the bill establishes the Community Policing Grant Program within the Department of Public Safety, which is funded by part of the revenue generated from the marijuana tax, to assist county and municipal law enforcement with community policing efforts. The Commissioner of Public Safety shall adopt rules for administering the program by December 1, 2011.

Part D of the bill removes the patient and primary caregiver registry system from the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act and repeals the provision requiring written certification from a physician for the medical use of marijuana as part of this registry system. It also repeals the requirement for patients, primary caregivers and dispensaries to keep marijuana in an enclosed, locked facility. Instead, it requires that the marijuana be secured from unauthorized access or from access by a person under 21 years of age. It allows dispensaries to acquire prepared marijuana or marijuana plants from persons licensed to cultivate or sell marijuana commercially. It updates the confidentiality and reporting requirements in the law to reflect the removal of the registry.

Part E of the bill updates the existing exceptions regarding possession of marijuana for medical use in the Maine Criminal Code.

Part F of the bill amends the existing laws on industrial hemp to allow a person to apply to the Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources for a license to grow industrial hemp. It removes provisions in the law that make licensing of industrial hemp farming contingent upon federal action. This Part also updates various provisions of the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 7 and Title 22 that are affected by changes in terminology proposed to the Maine medical marijuana law in this bill.




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Offlinemuse42
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Re: [Maine] Bill legalizes posession, growing of marijuana [Re: NizzyJones]
    #549549 - 04/23/11 12:52 AM (5 years, 7 months ago)

It's like I sat down and wrote this bill...  wtf?

This is awesome!


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OfflineNizzyJones
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Re: [Maine] Bill legalizes posession, growing of marijuana [Re: muse42]
    #549738 - 04/23/11 02:45 PM (5 years, 7 months ago)

Yeah, I really love this state... 'cept for certain days in Jan./Feb.

Edit: House Criminal Justice & Pub. Safety Comm. have scheduled a public hearing for May 10, 2011, 1:00PM, Room 436 of the State House. I'll make an effort to be there and report back. If anyone else is thinking of attending I exchanged some emails with the bills sponsor and she mentioned the committee is very conservative and proponents need to be sure to come out in their 'Sunday best'.


Edited by NizzyJones (04/29/11 02:22 PM)


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InvisibleDr. Penguin
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Re: [Maine] Bill legalizes posession, growing of marijuana [Re: NizzyJones]
    #555230 - 05/13/11 05:14 PM (5 years, 6 months ago)

Did you make it to the public hearing?


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OfflineNizzyJones
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Re: [Maine] Bill legalizes posession, growing of marijuana [Re: Dr. Penguin]
    #557383 - 05/22/11 12:35 PM (5 years, 6 months ago)

I ended up missing it but it went rather better than the bill's sponsor was expecting, the committee voted it down 7-3. [Kennebec Valley Jour. article] That article is from a fairly conservative publisher so, be warned it's a bit snarky and poorly written :wink: .

Also at some point to be determined, but before the end of session, they're planning to bring the bill up for debate in the full House and Senate.


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OfflineTank333
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Re: [Maine] Bill legalizes posession, growing of marijuana [Re: NizzyJones]
    #558855 - 05/27/11 03:32 PM (5 years, 6 months ago)

Man, that guy wants to talk about gateway drugs?? Nicotene, dopamine and seratonin are all more powerful than THC, and most kids are introduced to that WAY before weed!


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