On the heels of NORML lobby days making headlines with Representative Dana Rohrabacher’s admission of using a medical marijuana-infused product, NORML is once again pushing for legalization with Rick Steves, a NORML board member, matching donations for Maine’s campaign to tax and regulate cannabis.
It’s decriminalized in Maine, and they have a medical marijuana program. But Steves’ is advocating for a 2016 ballot initiative to end the state’s prohibition of cannabis.
“Through my travels in Europe, I’ve learned that pragmatic harm reduction makes much more sense than legislating morality. And I believe in civil liberties. Responsible adults should be able to use marijuana, just as they can use alcohol. Washington, Oregon, Colorado and Alaska have demonstrated that it is possible to build a system of marijuana control and regulation that works,” Steves wrote in a statement to potential donors.
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The iconic traveler, known for his average-joe take on traveling around the world, hosts ‘Rick Steves’ Europe’ and is author to dozens of books about exploring the world. Now, his new adventure is taking on cannabis legalization in Maine.
The NORML board member has worked to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana for adult and recreational use in his home state of Washington, and Oregon. “This isn’t about being “soft” or “hard” on drugs,” he wrote, “This is about being smart – and controlling and regulating marijuana the right way.”
The travel host promises to match donations, dollar-for-dollar, up to $50,000 for the campaign to get voters out in November. You can donate to further the initiative here.
The initiative aims to tax and regulate cannabis like alcohol and would allow adult 21 years of age and older to:
- Possess a limited amount of marijuana
- Grow a limited number of marijuana plants in their homes
- Possess the marijuana produced by those plants
According to their website, “the initiative enacts a 10% tax on adult-use marijuana sales, which will be used to implement and enforce regulations. Any remaining funds will be used by the legislature to benefit the citizens of Maine. Medical marijuana sales will not be subjected to the 10% sales tax.”
It would remain illegal to use marijuana in public and towns would have the right to prohibit the operation of marijuana establishments. The ballot goes up for vote this coming November in Maine.
There are some deeper market-changing issues at play than this article lets on. I am in no way affiliated with this organization, just a Maine patient who cares deeply. There is already a taxed and regulated framework of distribution through Caregivers and Dispensaries in Maine, with somewhere around 2,500 individuals already successfully making a living off of selling medicinally. The law up for vote doesn’t have these individuals who have paid taxes and slowly built their businesses as the initial recreational sellers. Instead, there is a whole new licensing/application/fee procedure, prohibitive cost to caregivers, and license quantity restrictions that will create monopolies in a short time. The whole thing just leap-frogs the people of Maine, and it just feels wrong. The right bill will come along eventually, but I’m going to have to vote, ‘No’ on this one.
While your waiting for the right bill to come along people in Maine still have the possibility of being arrested over cannabis. The black market is still allowed to flourish and with it all of the negatives to society that come with it. Im sorry that existing businesses aren’t preferenced but it’s a small price to pay for what you will gain. This sort of viewpoint is selfish and short sighted.
You both have very different perspectives, and both are valid. I have heard the argument that something is better than nothing when it comes to banking and the 280E issue. Many cannabis businesses would prefer a small change to that now, instead of waiting for some bigger bill like the CARERS act to fix. Thank you both for your insights!
Are you out of your mind? You’re waiting around for “the right bill”?!? THIS IS THE RIGHT BILL!!! The state of Maine needs this tax base. All the abandoned Paper Mills need to be replaced with Hemp Mills churning out products MADE IN THE U.S.A.!!!
SCREW the growers and their attitude of “keep prices high”… The fact that tobacco is legal and cannabis is illegal is just INSANE. GET OFF YOUR ARSE and vote YES Stevie.
The Maine and Mass. laws allow home growing with 6 huge flowering plants. I think that should compel everyone to vote yes. That is the basic essence of cannabis legalization. This isn’t a total stinker of a law like the one in Washington state, or Nevada.
Unlike Mass., the state legislature in Maine has a track record of being reasonable on medical MJ and helping these caregivers to serve medical patients. I would vote “yes” in Maine and be confident that existing caregivers and patients can work with the legislature in the future to keep the law working fairly.