Name: Marijuana Legalization Act
Ballot Number: Question 1
Front Group: Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Maine
Backer: Marijuana Policy Project
Key Provision: Allows for home growing of up to six plants.
Maine has been a vanguard state in cannabis legislation for the last 40 years. It was one of the first states to decriminalize pot possession (1978) and to legalize medical access to cannabis (1998), and voters have historically supported nearly every cannabis law reform effort placed before them. With a functional medical cannabis industry, and polls generally supportive of legalization, Question 1 has a good chance of passing.
The proposed measure would allow adults to legally possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and to cultivate up to six mature plants (and keep the entire yield for their own personal use). The measure would also establish licensing for the commercial production and retail sale of cannabis, which would be subject to a 10% sales tax. Non-commercial transactions and/or retail sales involving medical cannabis would not be subject to taxation.
Currently, the only significant public opposition (as is always the case with state cannabis law reform ballot measures) is coming from the drug-rehab industry and Project SAM. Republican Governor Paul LePage has also taken a stand against Question 2.
As in Massachusetts, cannabis law reform is so popular a concept in Maine that until early spring there were two competing legalization initiatives, with a local effort overrun by those who already possess a competitive advantage in the emerging cannabis space (Maine has eight operating medical cannabis facilities), and funneled through MPP—a similar modus operandi also employed by the group this election season in both Arizona and Nevada.
The NORML Foundation has donated $50,000 to the measure, and is helping to coordinate a “Let’s Legalize Marijuana” tour featuring NORML board member, best-selling travel author and TV host Rick Steves. At press time, polls showed Question 1 leading by a 54% to 43% margin.
— Allen St. Pierre
This is part of Freedom Leaf’s 2016 State-By-State Ballot Initiative Guide.