Marijuana in Maine
Maine political director of the Marijuana Policy Project, handed out fliers about marijuana at the Moxie Festival in Lisbon Falls. He plans to collect signatures for a citizen initiative in 2016 to legalize recreational marijuana use in Maine if the state Legislature doesn’t pass something sooner.
Four years after voters set in motion the mechanics of a medical marijuana law, an estimated 13,000 patients use it in Maine. And numbers are growing. Last year, at least 68 Maine physicians wrote recommendations for medical marijuana, and businesses selling it racked up $5 million in sales, blowing the doors off projections. The Legislature this session passed six of eight proposed medical marijuana bills, two as emergencies. And it’s not just about medical marijuana. A move to legalize marijuana for all Maine adults by sending the issue to referendum failed by only a handful of votes in the House this session. Advocates say they’ll collect 57,000 signatures to push a statewide referendum in 2016 if one more legislative effort fails.
Portland must decide much sooner: Residents will vote Nov. 5 on whether to welcome marijuana in the city. While some studies purport to show marijuana use can lead to drops in IQ or an increased risk for issues such as schizophrenia, Boyer hopes as Portland goes, so goes Maine — and he’s feeling good about Portland. In front of the Maine Legislature this session, lawmakers set ranges for medical marijuana licensing fees, OK’d limited pesticide use and added post-traumatic stress disorder to the list of “debilitating medical conditions” for which the drug can be prescribed. Last year, 17 percent of all drug arrests in Maine were for marijuana and 4,279 people seeking treatment for drug addiction named marijuana as one of their problem drugs. Its negative effects on a person are influenced by the quantity and frequency of use, genetics and routes of ingestion, said Cousins, the head of Maine’s Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services.
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