As we enter February already we are starting to see more and more progress by states around the nation in attempt to get marijuana on their state ballots in one form or another come November. Now, Maine has sent in over 103,000 signed petitions – of which they only need just over 61,000 to be validated to be approved for the ballot.
The Maine initiative is called The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol – and they aim to do exactly that. The proposed initiative would allow individuals 21 and older to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and cultivate a limited number of plants in their home.
Aside from that the law would also set regulation framework for things such as licensed retail stores, cultivation facilities and the guidelines to which they would have to adhere. Other potential regulations have been outlined for testing, testing facilities, product manufacturing and sale of the plant itself.
The taxes proposed with the initiative might actually be the lowest of any state to legalize so far at only 10%. Where the tax money would be going has not been specified, however it is likely that it will go to funding for educational programs and drug prevention programs in a similar fashion to the other states which have legalized.
While Washington D.C. moved to legalized marijuana possession and cultivation, they do not have a full comprehensive marijuana industry – which means if Maine passes the ballot in November (and if Vermont hasn’t beaten them to it) then they could be the first state on the East side of the country to legalize recreational marijuana.
According to a Portland marketing firm called Critical Insights, we have a good idea of how people are feeling about cannabis legalization in Maine. Around 65% of all Maine residents support legalizing marijuana – that’s a pretty large percentage. Even better, nearly 4 out of 5 – or 79% – agree it should be sold in retail stores.
“Over the past eight months, we’ve talked to more than 100,000 voters across the state, from Kittery to Caribou,” said campaign manager David Boyer. “Most Mainers agree it is time to end the failed policy of marijuana prohibition, and they will have the opportunity to do it this November.”
There are plenty of reasons someone can consider when they decide whether or not to vote on marijuana legalization – even if they don’t partake in the herb themselves. For instance, the fact that it opens up tons of job opportunities that weren’t there before or the fact that tax revenue could be used to fund important things like education?
This initiative aims to do just that…
“This initiative will replace the underground marijuana market with a tightly controlled system of legitimate, taxpaying businesses that create good jobs for Maine residents,” Boyer said. “It will also make Maine safer by allowing enforcement officials to spend more time addressing serious crimes instead of enforcing failed marijuana prohibition laws.”
Congratulations Maine for gathering all your signatures – the first battle is nearly over. Soon it will be time to start boosting voter opinions and helping everyone to realize why this is a much safer and healthier alternative for everyone.