Is Maine about to legalize pot?

posted at 11:01 am on October 20, 2013 by Jazz Shaw

While there are a number of headlines running around which might lead you to believe the contrary, the short answer to the title question is… no. There is a vote coming up in Maine regarding decriminalization of marijuana, but it’s neither state-wide nor a total lifting of prohibitions against the use of pot. It’s a referendum driven by the public rather than the legislature and it only applies to a single city.

Advocates of recreational marijuana use are looking to an upcoming vote in Maine as an indicator of whether the East Coast is ready to follow in the footsteps of Colorado and Washington by legalizing cannabis.

Voters in Portland are being asked whether they want to make it legal for adults 21 and over to possess — but not purchase or sell — up to 2.5 ounces of pot. The Nov. 5 vote is being eyed nationally as momentum grows in favor of legalizing marijuana use.

The Marijuana Policy Project, a Washington, D.C.-based group that supports legalization, says it targeted Portland because it’s Maine’s largest city and because, unlike many other states and cities, it has an initiative process to get the referendum on the ballot. Organizers hope passage of the Portland initiative could spur similar results in other liberal Northeast cities.

I understand that there’s still a very contentious debate taking place over legalizing pot – both here and all over the country – but this type of initiative represents a different problem than the basic question of legalization. (For the record, yes… I tend to support general legalization for those over 21, taxing it and regulating it the same way we do alcohol or tobacco. Your mileage may vary.)

How does an initiative in a single city, not affecting the rest of the state – to say nothing of the country – change anything? And even more to the point, what should the country make of laws which make it legal, as in the Portland initiative, to posses a limited amount of marijuana, but not to buy it or sell it? Unless you happen to live in some magical area where pot plants sprout freely from the ground where you can pick it, take it home and dry it out, how would you legally obtain it for recreational use? And what’s with the limit on volume for something intended to be “recreational?” I can think of no parallel in the law. If you want to go out and buy one six-pack of beer before the football game, that’s fine. But if you want to back your truck up and buy twenty cases so you don’t need to go shopping again for a while, that’s fine too. Limiting the legal amount of the product you can own still leaves it in the realm of something illegal, which is a very different question than limiting the age of those who can purchase it.

All in all, it looks to me as if this vote in Maine is nothing more than window dressing to try to make a point, increase a growing national narrative, and get people talking about it. Nothing is actually being “legalized” here even if the vote succeeds.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Don’t know don’t care.

bgibbs1000 on October 20, 2013 at 11:04 AM

Good.

unclesmrgol on October 20, 2013 at 11:05 AM

It amazes me how many liberals get up in arms about ‘smoking’, yet inhaling marijuana smoke is okay.

GarandFan on October 20, 2013 at 11:07 AM

The Marijuana Policy Project, a Washington, D.C.-based group that supports legalization, says it targeted Portland because it’s Maine’s largest city and because, unlike many other states and cities, it has an initiative process to get the referendum on the ballot. Organizers hope passage of the Portland initiative could spur similar results in other liberal Northeast cities.

Not to mention, it’s overwhelming full of stoners.

Cleombrotus on October 20, 2013 at 11:10 AM

Portland is fast getting a reputation for a small city that outwardly appears nice but once you’re there for a while you notice a dark undercurrent.

Even my Liberal clients in New York, when I mention that say, “Yes, we noticed that too when we visited.”

Cleombrotus on October 20, 2013 at 11:15 AM

Every other problem in the world is solved. Great!

Ronnie on October 20, 2013 at 11:17 AM

Hey, people with Maine accents have been calling the city “Potland” for centuries.

Del Dolemonte on October 20, 2013 at 11:19 AM

It amazes me how many liberals get up in arms about ‘smoking’, yet inhaling marijuana smoke is okay.

GarandFan on October 20, 2013 at 11:07 AM

Unlike tobacco, there are ways to utilize marihuana that don’t involve actually inhaling the smoke. Such as eating it, or more recently, using a vaporizer device, which gives the user all of the effects of the herb except for the noxious effects of the burning vegetable matter.

Del Dolemonte on October 20, 2013 at 11:22 AM

Maine is behind the times… Washington state is issuing liecenses now from the election that was held last fall.

If only the Tea Party hadn’t sabotaged the GOP.

Thanks for the legal pot Tea Party… and hey that Gay marriage is just peachy too! sarc/

Thanks a whole lot for your help Tea Party! You are worse than worthless.

petunia on October 20, 2013 at 11:23 AM

Is this even news anymore?

Cindy Munford on October 20, 2013 at 11:23 AM

Just wait till they find out the taxes on it. Something tells me there will be a lot of blank stares.

nobar on October 20, 2013 at 11:24 AM

nobar on October 20, 2013 at 11:24 AM

I see what you did there.

Cleombrotus on October 20, 2013 at 11:26 AM

live here in maine, portland is a festering wound that infects everyone.
I have no issues decriminalizing it, but doing so only to tax it is just as bad as keeping it illegal.
legal status of an item should never be determined by its taxability status.

dmacleo on October 20, 2013 at 11:29 AM

It amazes me how many liberals get up in arms about ‘smoking’, yet inhaling marijuana smoke is okay.

GarandFan on October 20, 2013 at 11:07 AM

Until it is legalized. Then it will be different. To libs, that is. Lib logic is irrational, subjective, and based on feelings and emotions. And if you question a lib’s “logic” and/or don’t agree it is because you are a heartless, uncaring, selfish, and evil being.

farsighted on October 20, 2013 at 11:51 AM

Potland Fahm remembahs.

Bishop on October 20, 2013 at 11:52 AM

Maine is behind the times… Washington state is issuing liecenses now from the election that was held last fall.

If only the Tea Party hadn’t sabotaged the GOP.

Thanks for the legal pot Tea Party… and hey that Gay marriage is just peachy too! sarc/

Thanks a whole lot for your help Tea Party! You are worse than worthless.

petunia on October 20, 2013 at 11:23 AM

Weird. I live here in Washington, and dont recall the Tea Party having much to do with marijuana legalization up here.

Clue up, clueless.

Jeddite on October 20, 2013 at 12:06 PM

Maine is behind the times… Washington state is issuing liecenses now from the election that was held last fall.

If only the Tea Party hadn’t sabotaged the GOP.

Thanks for the legal pot Tea Party… and hey that Gay marriage is just peachy too! sarc/

Thanks a whole lot for your help Tea Party! You are worse than worthless.

petunia on October 20, 2013 at 11:23 AM

If only the “moderates” had worked with the TEA party instead of knifing us in the back, running down the GOP brand even worse than Obama did, we wouldn’t have a fractured party..

But then.. the snobs in the establishment have NEVER been willing to LISTEN to the party’s two largest faction, conservatives and libertarians..

Party’s tend to fall apart when the establishment looses touch with the voters they take for granted.. worse if they actively savage them on air for the democrats amusement..

sell hate somewhere else..

and try building the party instead of trashing it’s base..

mark81150 on October 20, 2013 at 12:10 PM

Thanks for the legal pot Tea Party… and hey that Gay marriage is just peachy too! sarc/

Thanks a whole lot for your help Tea Party! You are worse than worthless.

petunia on October 20, 2013 at 11:23 AM

Bad…bad! TEA Party! For shame!

Good to know that libertarians and trucons had nothing…NOTHING!!…at all to do with those.

Since they’re so ‘pure’, you know, in their conservatism.

Solaratov on October 20, 2013 at 12:13 PM

Mixed feelings on this.. I was a cops kid, grew up with a visceral loathing of the drug culture, all of it.. but I have libertarian leanings,.. and it’s far less harmful than the other drugs of choice..

don’t know..

I’ve been exposed the last few years to folks who made weed smokin their vocation, a couple I know has lived 15 years since high school, moving from couch to couch, family, friends, friends of friends.. never working, always promising too…. but in the end getting kicked out for not even trying to help pay bills.. They have two kids, and just don’t care,.. children’s services won’t do anything unless they get convicted of something..

Useless miserable mooches, leeches.. my wife’s sister.. and idiot thug boy friend..

I have a really hard time separating them, from those who smoke the stuff.. and live normal lives.. I know they aren’t the norm,.. but you understand, they’ve hurt my wife’s family, mine now as well badly.. it’s hard not to transfer the prejudice, but I am trying..

I understand

mark81150 on October 20, 2013 at 12:19 PM

Last sentence?.. started a sentence but didn’t finish it, thought it was deleted.. oops..

mark81150 on October 20, 2013 at 12:21 PM

Searching with all my might for the “don’t give a sh¡t” button.

james hooker on October 20, 2013 at 12:24 PM

It’s interesting to see the current GoP, minus the Temperamental-Conservatives, drifting towards a personal freedom platform.

Of course we still have our Temp-So-Cons (the GoP’s answer to liberal activism) who still slave away to control others but their power is waning. Hopefully we don’t have to lose too many more elections before they are behind us.

phadedjaded on October 20, 2013 at 12:36 PM

Portland is fast getting a reputation for a small city that outwardly appears nice but once you’re there for a while you notice a dark undercurrent.

Even my Liberal clients in New York, when I mention that say, “Yes, we noticed that too when we visited.”

Cleombrotus on October 20, 2013 at 11:15 AM

Can you elaborate for those of us out West who mostly know Maine as Acadia NP, syrup, fall colors, lobsters, Hawkeye Pierce and Joshua L Chamberlain? (I know from people who went there that Bowdoin college and U of M are intolerant closed-minded lib cesspools run from top to bottom by lefty nutters since forever, but every east coast U is like that).

is use of the wacky weed evidence of a dark undercurrent? My family have friends in Farmington and they’re total Norman Rockwells. But they’re also 70 and worked hard non-stop all their lives for everything they have, including their quite nice estate home which i’ve seen in pix but never visited.

Sacramento on October 20, 2013 at 12:37 PM

Having a country of unmotivated, stoned, moochers, would be harmful how?

Oh, yea!

trs on October 20, 2013 at 12:49 PM

You guys are missing the point. Let them have their weed. They’ll be so baked all the time they won’t bother to vote. Then,Victory is Ours!

teacherman on October 20, 2013 at 1:10 PM

Even my Liberal clients in New York, when I mention that say, “Yes, we noticed that too when we visited.”

Cleombrotus on October 20, 2013 at 11:15 AM

Can you elaborate for those of us out West who mostly know Maine as Acadia NP, syrup, fall colors, lobsters, Hawkeye Pierce and Joshua L Chamberlain? (I know from people who went there that Bowdoin college and U of M are intolerant closed-minded lib cesspools run from top to bottom by lefty nutters since forever, but every east coast U is like that).

is use of the wacky weed evidence of a dark undercurrent? My family have friends in Farmington and they’re total Norman Rockwells. But they’re also 70 and worked hard non-stop all their lives for everything they have, including their quite nice estate home which i’ve seen in pix but never visited.

Sacramento on October 20, 2013 at 12:37 PM

I live just to the west in New Hampshire but have friends in Maine. Besides the liberal infestation at Bowdoin and UMO, you’ll find it at all of the other places of “higher learning”, including Bates, Colby, and the state campuses (one of which as I recall is in Farmington).

One of the problems started in the city of Lewiston. In the late 1990s that city saw a huge influx of Somalis from places in the South (especially Georgia) and as a result they overloaded the city’s social services, and as a result Lewiston’s property tax rate went thru the roof. In addition many locals were evicted from their public housing to make room for the newcomers, and resentment ensued.

And in recent years another problem has developed. Illegal immigrants.

Since 2007 Portland has been a Sanctuary City. And Maine has been giving drivers’ licenses to illegals to such a degree that there is a burgeoning illegal alien industry transporting them to the state.

In other words, Maine has become California East.

Del Dolemonte on October 20, 2013 at 1:38 PM

Is there a Marijuana for Dummies?

davidk on October 20, 2013 at 2:15 PM

When someone is charged with a CRIME, it’s not the _CITY OF PORTLAND VS JOHN SMITH_. Idiots.

It’s the STATE OF MAINE VS JOHN SMITH. Police powers are granted by the state, not the city. So if a CITY wants to say its legal, it’s irrelevant because the city does not provide the charging-authority, its granted by the state.

You people in MAINE would best be served NOT to embarrass yourselves in this way. If you want DOPE to be legal for DOPES to use, that’s your prerogative, however you should do it appropriately.

TX-96 on October 20, 2013 at 2:41 PM

Buy stocks in cheetos.

Murphy9 on October 20, 2013 at 2:48 PM

Another weekend with Jazz Shaw – yawn.

bw222 on October 20, 2013 at 3:29 PM

Besides, Portland’s not in Maine, it’s in North Massachusetts. The Hobbit barrier is about twenty miles north of there.

PersonFromPorlock on October 20, 2013 at 5:02 PM

…they have two Senators that vote like they smoke it!

KOOLAID2 on October 20, 2013 at 5:52 PM

Besides, Portland’s not in Maine, it’s in North Massachusetts. The Hobbit barrier is about twenty miles north of there.

PersonFromPorlock on October 20, 2013 at 5:02 PM

not anymore really.
Bangor pretty damned liberal now and most of the state on handouts.

dmacleo on October 20, 2013 at 7:22 PM

is use of the wacky weed evidence of a dark undercurrent? My family have friends in Farmington and they’re total Norman Rockwells. But they’re also 70 and worked hard non-stop all their lives for everything they have, including their quite nice estate home which i’ve seen in pix but never visited.

Sacramento on October 20, 2013 at 12:37 PM

well, the fact that this is what is the popular thing these days for them to agitate about, it reflects where the majority’s mindset and spirits are at.

The spirit that animated people like your friends is pretty much extinguished up here and its been replaced by one untethered from the eternal values that motivated and formed the Maine character that most people, who have not been here, still think is here.

I moved here from the NYC area about 22 years ago and watched as it was steadily extinguished by the advance of the secularists from other places moving in and bringing with them the values and ideas of their big cities.

I remember gas stations from Connecticut Northward still letting you pump your gas and then pay for it and watched as that practice came to an end in a growing concentric circle emanating from Boston and New York because, as one gas station owner explained to me, “More and more people are simply filling up and driving away”

It’s just a selfish and self-centered spirit that pervades the place anymore. And those “selves” are increasingly concerned with shallower and shallower interests.

It’s a shame, really.

Cleombrotus on October 20, 2013 at 8:17 PM

Been to Portland more than a few times,on my way north.The food in places that I’ve tried is mediocre at best and way overpriced,and all served to you with a smarmy attitude[exception would be Becky's diner..pretty good chow and prices minus the b/s] ..oh also had the WORST fn pizza in my life at a place near waterfront..too bad cause it’s a pretty town,guessing it went sour a long enough time ago.

falsecast on October 20, 2013 at 9:27 PM

Born in Saco, raised in South Portland. Most of my family is still in the Portland area. There is bloody little of the Mainer left in Maine. Lewiston-Auburn is rotten. Portland is infested with Massholes and all the detritus they bring with them. Like most states, the urban(relatively)areas dominate all politics. I declared it a lost cause years ago. I go back for the Fryeburg fair and Casco days when I can but I’ve watched much of my family drift off into the slumber of a frog in a nice warm pot…hmm pot… If you want to leave the world behind like you used to be able to in Maine you really have to up to the County, Aroostook, that is.

TBinSTL on October 20, 2013 at 10:17 PM

falsecast on October 20, 2013 at 9:27 PM

Yes, that “smarmy attitude” is an apt description. It comes from the “arts community” that is over represented here. Intellectually incurious but think they’re enlightened.

Portland reportedly is the third highest per capita same sex ratio cities in America, after San Francisco and, I believe Santa Fe. If you’re not “gay-friendly” you’re not getting elected and they occupy most city agencies.

Cleombrotus on October 21, 2013 at 4:22 AM

Pot will be legal in most, if not all of the country by the end of the decade. I think on the whole it will be a good thing, in as much as some of the worst abuses of the war on drugs will need to taper off somewhat.

Farmer_Joe on October 21, 2013 at 1:30 PM