Maine

Maine: 3 York Selectmen Prevent Constituents From Having Say On Marijuana Policy

Maine-DavidBoyer(MPP)

Citizens for a Safer Maine on Friday announced it will not appeal a judge’s decision to allow the York Board of Selectmen to prevent a vote on a ballot measure that would make marijuana legal for adults.

“We’re confident an appeal would be successful, but at this point we cannot afford to continue playing this game with the selectmen,” said David Boyer, Maine political director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), which supported the measure. “We know there is support for ending marijuana prohibition in York, and we’re going to focus our resources on giving them a chance to vote on it in 2016 with a statewide ballot initiative.

“It’s unfortunate that three out of the five selectmen have needlessly and very likely illegally prevented their constituents from voting on this measure,” Boyer said. “It’s a disservice to the voters who elected them, and they’ll have to live with that.”

Citizens for a Safer Maine initially submitted more than 200 signatures of registered York voters to place a measure in front of the York Board of Selectmen in July. The board voted 3-2 against putting the measure on the ballot and, based on local initiative rules, provided the group with 30 days to collect an additional 641 signatures.

Citizens for a Safer Maine submitted nearly 1,000 signatures in August 27, but the Board of Selectmen again voted 3-2 against placing the measure on the ballot. In September, Superior Court Judge Paul Fritzche did not grant an injunction requested by the group to place the initiative on the November ballot.

Maine: City Leaders Support Initiatives To Make Marijuana Legal For Adults

Maine-DavidBoyer(MPP)

Lewiston City Councilor Leslie Dubois and Lewiston School Committee Member Matthew Roy joined the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) at a Tuesday news conference to kick off the campaign in support of initiatives on the November ballot to make marijuana legal for adults in Lewiston and South Portland.

The event was held at 10 a.m. ET in Kennedy Park, across from Lewiston City Hall on the corner of Park Street and Pine Street.

In Lewiston, Question 2 would make possession of up to one ounce of marijuana legal for adults 21 and older in Lewiston. It would remain illegal to use marijuana in public.

The measure also expresses support for regulating and taxing marijuana like alcohol in Maine. A similar proposal will also appear on the ballot in South Portland (the city will not provide it with an identifying number or letter).

“Law enforcement resources would be better spent addressing serious crimes instead of adults possessing small amounts of marijuana,” Councilor Dubois said. “Question 2 will make our communities safer.”

“Our laws should reflect the facts, and it’s a fact that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol,” Roy said. “It’s irrational to treat adults like criminals simply for possessing it. Question 2 just makes sense.”

Maine: Men Dressed As Law Enforcement Steal Medical Marijuana Plants

Maine-LawEnforcementImpersonatorRipsOffMarijuana

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Police are pursuing numerous leads in the case of three men impersonating law enforcement officers, two dressed in black SWAT team gear and one wearing a sheriff's office uniform and armed with a handgun, who robbed the medical marijuana garden of a local patient.

"We have two very good leads on the identity of two of the suspects and a possible lead on the identity of the third," said Lt. Aaron Hayden of the Maine State Police on Thursday morning, reports Nok-Noi Ricker at the Bangor Daily News.

The detail Lt. Hayden would release about the three suspects is that they are from Maine. Hayden said on Tuesday that the landowner is a legal medical marijuana patient.

The three men went to the garden in Winterport wearing clothing impersonating law enforcement personnel at about 7:30 a.m. on September 21, according to spokesman Stephen McCausland of the Maine Department of Public Safety.

After getting into an argument with the landowner, the men grabbed armfuls of mature, flowering marijuana plants, ready for harvest, and reportedly took off running.

The faces of two of the three men are clearly visible in surveillance camera images released on Monday afternoon by Maine State Police. Investigators said they believe the armed man was carrying a semi-automatic pistol.

Maine: Citizens For A Safer York File Complaint To Get Marijuana Legalization On Ballot

Maine-CitizensForASaferMaine(DavidBoyer)

A complaint was filed with the York County Superior Court on Wednesday seeking a temporary injunction requiring the Select Board of the Town of York to place an initiated ordinance which would legalize marijuana on the ballot for November's general election.

Plaintiffs include York voters who have signed and circulated the marijuana petition, as well as a York voter who did not sign the petition but wants the opportunity to vote on the measure.

The measure would make it legal for adults 21 years of age and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana in York. It would remain illegal to consume or display marijuana in public. The measure also includes a statement in support of regulating and taxing marijuana like alcohol at the state level.

Citizens for a Safer York initially submitted more than 200 signatures to place the measure in front of the York Board of Selectmen. On July 28, the board voted 3-2 against putting the measure on the ballot, giving the group 30 days to collect an additional 641 signatures. It submitted nearly 1,000 signatures on August 27. On September 8, the Board of Selectman voted 3-2 to not place the measure on the ballot.

“The right to petition your government is the bedrock of democracy. For the Selectman to ignore the will of their constituents goes against what our country is all about, and that is why I signed on to this case,” said plaintiff Sharon DaBiere.

Maine: Marijuana Doctor Who Held Clinics In Hotels Is Reprimanded, Fined

Maine-DrWilliamOrtizTheHealthClinic

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A doctor who held a medical marijuana authorization clinic at a hotel and failed to adequately document examinations has been reprimanded and fined by the board that licenses physicians in Maine.

The board announced on Monday that Dr. William Ortiz accepted an agreement under which he'll pay a $2,000 fine and reimburse the Maine Board of Licensure in Medicine $1,412 for its investigation, reports CBS News.

According to the board, Ortiz saw 59 patients during a "medical seminar" at a hotel in Orono, Maine, in March 2013, but there was no documentation of an exam for 44 of them. Ortiz charged the patients $200 cash to issue a three-month medical marijuana certificate, then $175 more for a one-year certificate on a follow-up visit, the reprimand said, reports David Hench at the Portland Press Herald.

The board also said Ortiz kept "odd hours," including appointments at 3 a.m.

Ortiz, who has been licensed to practice medicine in Maine since 2012, promised not to engaqe in such conduct in the future. His practice has offices in Caribou, Maine, and in Holyoke, Massachusetts.

Maine: Lewiston City Council Places Marijuana Legalization Measure On Ballot

MaineTheWayLifeShouldBe

The Lewiston City Council on Tuesday night voted to place a measure on the November ballot that would make private marijuana possession legal for adults within city limits.

Citizens for a Safer Maine submitted more than 1,250 signatures to get the measure in front of the council, which had the options of adopting it or placing it on the ballot. Just 859 valid signatures of registered city voters were required.

A similar measure will appear on the November ballot in South Portland, and the group has submitted more than the number of signatures required to place one on the ballot in York.

The initiative would make it legal for adults 21 years of age and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana. It would remain illegal to consume or display marijuana in public.

The measure also includes a statement in support of regulating and taxing marijuana like alcohol at the state level.

“Voters will have the opportunity to move Lewiston forward toward a more sensible marijuana policy,” said David Boyer, Maine political director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). “While collecting signatures we encountered a lot of interest in exploring alternatives to prohibition. People are sick of hearing about adults getting punished for using a less harmful substance than alcohol.

Maine: Lewiston City Council To Consider Proposal To Make Marijuana Legal For Adults

DavidBoyerCitizensForASaferMaine

The Lewiston City Council on Tuesday night will consider a citizen-initiated measure at its meeting that would make private marijuana possession legal for adults. The council can enact the proposed law or place it on the November 4 ballot.

Citizens for a Safer Maine submitted more than 1,250 signatures to place the measure in front of the council. Just 859 valid signatures of registered city voters were required.

Citizens for a Safer Maine qualified a similar measure for the ballot in South Portland and recently collected the final signatures needed to place one on the ballot in York.

The initiative would make it legal for adults 21 years of age and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana. It would remain illegal to consume or display marijuana in public.

The measure also includes a statement in support of regulating and taxing marijuana like alcohol at the state level.

“Lewiston resources are being wasted arresting responsible adults for using something with far less personal and social costs than alcohol,” said Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) Maine political director David Boyer. “We hope the council will see the sense in using law enforcement resources for serious issues, but if they don’t, the citizens of Lewiston will.”

WHAT: Lewiston City Council hearing on a citizen-initiated measure that would make private marijuana possession legal for adults

WHEN: Tuesday, September 2, 7 p.m. ET

WHERE: Lewiston City Hall, 27 Pine Street, Lewiston, Maine

WHO: Lewiston City Council

Maine: Activists To Submit Final Petition For Initiative To Legalize Marijuana In York

DavidBoyerCitizensForASaferMaine

Citizens for a Safer Maine will submit its petition Wednesday in support of a citizen initiative to make private marijuana possession legal for adults 21 years of age and older in the Town of York. York Selectman Ronald Nowell will join initiative backers at a media availability at 2 p.m. ET in front of York Town Hall prior to submitting the petition to the Town Clerk’s Office.

Citizens for a Safer Maine collected more than 900 total signatures, and just 641 valid signatures of registered town voters are needed to qualify for the ballot.

In July, the group submitted more than 100 signatures in order to place the measure in front of the York Board of Selectmen. On July 28, it voted 3-2 against putting the measure on the ballot, giving Citizens for a Safer Maine 30 days to collect the additional 600-plus signatures.

The initiative would make it legal for adults 21 years of age and older to privately possess up to one ounce of marijuana. It would remain illegal to consume or display marijuana in public.

The measure also includes a statement in support of regulating and taxing marijuana like alcohol at the state level. A similar measure will appear on the November ballot in South Portland, and one is expected to be placed on the ballot in Lewiston following a city council hearing next week.

Maine: South Portland City Council Places Marijuana Legalization Measure On Ballot

DavidBoyerCitizensForASaferMaine

Similar proposals are also likely to appear on ballots in Lewiston and York

The South Portland City Council on Monday voted unanimously to place a measure on the November ballot that would make private marijuana possession legal for adults within city limits.

Citizens for a Safer Maine collected more than 1,500 signatures to get the measure in front of the council, which had the options of adopting it or placing it on the ballot. Just 959 valid signatures of registered city voters were required. A similar measure has qualified for the ballot in Lewiston, and Citizens for a Safer Maine is in the process of collecting the final signatures needed to place one on the ballot in York.

The South Portland initiative would make it legal for adults 21 years of age and older to privately possess up to one ounce of marijuana. It would remain illegal to consume or display marijuana in public. The measure also includes a statement in support of regulating and taxing marijuana like alcohol at the state level.

“Voters will have the chance to take a bite out of marijuana prohibition in South Portland this November,” said Marijuana Policy Project Maine political director David Boyer. “This is a great opportunity to have an open and honest public dialogue about this important issue. In particular, we hope to continue the conversation about the relative safety of marijuana compared to alcohol.

Maine: South Portland Council To Consider Marijuana Legalization Measure

DavidBoyerCitizensForASaferMaine

The South Portland City Council will consider a citizen-initiated measure at its meeting Monday night that would make private marijuana possession legal for adults. The council can enact the proposed law or place it on the ballot.

Citizens for a Safer Maine submitted more than 1,500 signatures to place the measure in front of the council. Just 959 valid signatures of registered city voters were required.

Citizens for a Safer Maine qualified a similar measure for the ballot in Lewiston, and it is in the process of collecting the final signatures needed to place one on the ballot in York.

The initiative would make it legal for adults 21 years of age and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana. It would remain illegal to consume or display marijuana in public.

The measure also includes a statement in support of regulating and taxing marijuana like alcohol at the state level.

“This is a common-sense proposal,” said Marijuana Policy Project Maine political director David Boyer. “Adults who are of legal age to use alcohol should not be punished simply for consuming a far less harmful substance.

"We hope the council members will agree law enforcement officials’ time and resources would be better spent addressing serious crimes,” Boyer said.

WHAT: South Portland City Council hearing on a citizen-initiated measure that would make private marijuana possession legal for adults

WHEN: Monday, August 18, 7 p.m. ET

WHERE: South Portland City Hall, 25 Cottage Rd., South Portland

Maine: Citizens To Submit Petition To Support Lewiston Marijuana Legalization Initiative

Maine-CitizensForASaferMaine(DavidBoyer)

Citizens for a Safer Maine on Friday will submit its final batch of petitions in support of a citizen initiative to make private marijuana possession legal for adults 21 years of age and older within Lewiston city limits.

The group has collected more than 1,250 total signatures, and just 859 valid signatures of registered city voters are needed to qualify for the ballot. The city clerk has 10 days to certify the petition. Then it must submit it to the city council for consideration at its next regular meeting, at which time council members can enact the measure or refer it to city voters.

“I hope council members will join us in supporting this commonsense measure,” said David Boyer, spokesperson for Citizens for a Safer Maine and Maine political director for the Marijuana Policy Project. “If they don’t enact the measure, it should be placed on the November ballot for Lewiston voters to decide.”

Citizens for a Safer Maine has qualified a similar measure for the ballot in South Portland, and it is in the process of collecting the final signatures needed to place one on the ballot in York.

“Law enforcement officials have better things to do than punish adults for using a less harmful substance than alcohol,” said Boyer. “If the council or voters approve this measure, we expect police to respect the decision.

"Police can refrain from citing adults they find in possession of marijuana, just as they can refrain from citing someone they find driving 10 miles per hour over the speed limit,” Boyer said.

Maine: Initiative To Legalize Marijuana Possession In South Portland Qualifies For Ballot

DavidBoyerCitizensForASaferMaine

City council will decide whether to enact the measure or refer it to voters at its meeting on August 4

South Portland city officials confirmed Wednesday that a citizen initiative to make marijuana possession legal for adults within city limits has qualified for the November 2014 ballot. Citizens for a Safer Maine submitted more than 1,500 signatures, and just 959 valid signatures of registered city voters were required.

The South Portland City Council will consider whether to enact the measure or refer it to city voters at its meeting scheduled for August 4.

“Voters were very receptive during the signature drive,” said MPP Maine political director David Boyer. “Most people agree law enforcement officials have more important things to do than punish adults for using a substance that is less harmful than alcohol.

"If this measure passes, police can use their discretion to stop arresting adults for simple marijuana possession,” Boyer said.

The initiative would make it legal for adults 21 years of age and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana. It would remain illegal to consume or display marijuana in public. The measure also includes a statement in support of regulating and taxing marijuana like alcohol at the state level.

“We hope to see as much support and enthusiasm among city council members as we have among voters,” Boyer said. “This is an opportunity for council members to demonstrate leadership on this issue. It’s time to move beyond the status quo of prohibition and start making progress.”

Maine: Citizens Submit Petition Supporting Marijuana Legalization Ordinance In South Portland

MarijuanaBallotVote

Citizens for a Safer Maine on Monday submitted its petition in support of an initiative to make marijuana possession legal for adults within South Portland city limits. The group submitted more than 1,500 signatures, with just 959 valid signatures of registered city voters needed to qualify for the November 2014 ballot.

The city clerk has 20 days to certify the petition.

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Shenna Bellows joined Citizens for a Safer Maine at a news conference inside South Portland City Hall prior to submitting the signatures to the City Clerk’s Office.

“Our goal is to get people talking about marijuana and the benefits of ending prohibition,” said David Boyer, Maine political director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP).

“Marijuana is far less harmful than alcohol for the consumer and for society," Boyer said. "It should be treated it that way, and that entails no longer punishing adults who choose to use it responsibly.”

Graphic: Marijuana.com

Maine: Citizens for a Safer Maine Submit Petition Supporting Marijuana Legalization Ordinance In York

Maine-York-NubbleLighthouse

Group submits more than 200 total signatures; 100 signatures of registered town voters are needed for the measure to be considered for the ballot

Citizens for a Safer Maine submitted more than 200 signatures to the York town clerk on Thursday in support of an ordinance making marijuana possession legal for adults. One hundred signatures of registered York voters are needed for the measure to be considered for the ballot.

The York Board of Selectmen can now hold a public hearing on the proposed ordinance and place it on the ballot. If it does not act on the petition, supporters will have 30 days to collect signatures equal to 10 percent of the local votes cast in the last gubernatorial election in order to trigger a general referendum.

“Adults should not be punished for possessing small amounts of marijuana, and our laws should reflect that,” said Sherry DaBiere, a York resident and realtor who submitted the petition. “Law enforcement has more serious crimes to deal with.”

“Marijuana is objectively safer than alcohol, and arresting adults for possessing it is a waste of time and resources,” said David Boyer, Maine political director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). “If voters approve these measures, law enforcement officials can use their discretion to stop punishing otherwise law-abiding citizens and saddling them with criminal records that can hurt them for the rest of their lives.”

Photo Source

Maine: Marijuana Legalization Activists Gathering Signatures In 3 Towns

DavidBoyerMPPMaine

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Local marijuana legalization campaigns were launched in three Maine towns were launched on Monday by the group Citizens for a Safer Maine. Supporters in Lewiston, South Portland, and York hope to change municipal ordinances to remove all penalties for cannabis possession by adults.

The petition drive was launched in Kennedy Park in Lewiston on Monday afternoon, reports Tim Goff at WCSH. The ordinances would allow those 21 or older to possess and use marijuana on private property; public use would still be illegal, as would operating a vehicle while under the influence.

"It is illogical," said David Boyer, Maine political director for the Marijuana Policy Project. "We have bigger fish to fry. There's violent crimes going on, there's property crimes and that is where our police resources should be spent."

"It's just a simple issue of freedom," agreed former state Rep. Stavros Mendros. "I'm not a big fan of marijuana. I think smoking it is a bad idea personally, with all due respect. I think it is dumb, bad for your health, but then again, so is being fat and no one is throwing me in jail for that, so you know it is about letting people live and have the freedom to live the way they want to live."

Maine: Local Marijuana Legalization Initiatives Launch In Three Towns

MaineTheWayLifeShouldBe

The group Citizens for a Safer Maine on Monday will launch campaigns in support of local ballot initiatives that would make possession of small amounts of marijuana legal for adults in Lewiston, South Portland, and York.

Supporters of the Lewiston measure, including former Maine state Rep. Stavros Mendros (R-Lewiston) and Lewiston Republican Committee Vice Chair Luke Jensen, will hold a news conference at noon in Kennedy Park, at the corner of Park Street and Pine Street, across from Lewiston City Hall, to discuss the initiatives and the initiative processes.

"Adults should not be punished simply for using a substance that is less harmful than alcohol," said David Boyer, Maine political director of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). "If voters approve these measures, law enforcement officials can use their discretion to stop arresting and prosecuting adults for marijuana possession."

Mendros and Jensen are two of 10 Lewiston residents who initiated the petition, along with Lewiston City Council Member Leslie Dubois and Lewiston School Board Member Matt Roy.

"Marijuana is objectively safer than alcohol," Roy said. "It's time to rely on facts and not conjecture."

WHAT: Launch of campaigns in support of ballot initiatives that would make marijuana possession legal for adults in Lewiston, South Portland, and York

Vermont: New Hampshire Marijuana Legalization Vote Could Prompt Rest of New England

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Does the domino theory apply here? Political observers believe that last week's marijuana legalization vote in the New Hampshire House of Representatives could help prompt states across New England to adopt more liberal cannabis policies.

The legalization bill in the New Hampshire Legislature enjoys popular support, reports Watchdog.org. "Polls show 60 percent of voters in the state support, and we won't rest until that includes a majority of their state legislators," said legislative analyst Matt Simon of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) last week.

If the bill makes it out of committee and through a final vote and is then signed by Gov. Maggie Hassan (who hasn't sounded very encouraging so far), it would make New Hampshire the first state in New England to legalize, joining the 420-friendly town of Portland, Maine. Portland voted as a city on Election Day 2013 to legalize marijuana.

"The legalization of marijuana is moving fast in parts of the United States, and it looks as though the domino effect could quickly move to other states such as Vermont," said former Rhode Island U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy, who heads an anti-cannabis group called Project Smart Approaches to Marijuana (Project SAM), supposedly "dedicated to a health-first approach to marijuana policy" but in reality dedicated to the promulgation of Reefer Madness disinformation.

Maine: Senate Candidate Supports Marijuana Legalization

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Shenna Bellows, the Democratic candidate in the 2014 race for U.S. Senator from Maine, is the most prominent Senate candidate yet to support marijuana legalization.

Bellows, a carpenter's daugbhter who calls herself both a progressive and a libertarian, is a former director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Maine, report Nicole Flatow and Scott Keyes at ThinkProgress. She supports action on climate change, boosting the minimum wage, and less government spying on citizens.

Bellows doesn't mind attracting controversy, because her opponent, Republican Sen. Susan Collins is one of the top five most popular Senators in the U.S. Collins is a formidable opponent, enjoying a 61 percent approval rating.

Rather than shying away from her involvement with the ACLU, Bellows said she's proud of that organization's leadership on cannabis legalization and other issues. She envisions herself as a potential Senate leader on marijuana reform.

"Right now on the Senate side, there doesn't seem to be a leader who has the courage to move that forward," Bellows told ThinkProgress. "I would be that leader."

Maine: DHHS Says Medical Marijuana Can't Be Used For Tourette's

MarijuanaForTourettes

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Patients in Maine won't be legally allowed to use medical marijuana to treat Tourette's syndrome, state public health officials decided this week.

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) denied a request by Dr. Dustin Sulak to add Tourette's to the list of medical conditions which qualify patients for medicinal cannabis, reports The Associated Press.

Dr. Sulak said a letter signed by DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew arrived on Christmas Eve, denying the request without offering any explanation for the decision.

Sulak and his patient, Peter Hasty, had testified at a November hearing that cannabis helped Hasty's muscular tics caused by Tourette's.

Hasty said that if he couldn't use cannabis to treat several muscular tics caused by Tourette's, he would be confined to his home in Ellsworth, reports Joe Lawlor at the Morning Sentinel.

"I would not be able to go out the door," he said. "It has has vastly improved my qualify of life."

"Tourette's syndrome does have human studies showing that (marijuana) helps, and it's not like there's other good options," Dr. Sulak said.

Maine: Marijuana Legalization Takes Effect In Portland; Officials Warn Against Public Celebration

PortlandMaineLegalMarijuanaCelebrationElectionNight2013

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A new ordinance removing all penalties for marijuana possession took effect on Friday in Portland, Maine, and nervous city officials are trying to head off the kind of celebration that took place on election night last month.

Several cannabis advocates celebrated the lopsided victory in November by smoking a foot-long joint outside a downtown bar, reports Randy Billings at the Portland Press Herald.

"The ordinance clearly says you can't do it in public," said City Councilor David Marshall, a member of the Portland Green Independent Committee, which led the legalization drive. "We certainly hope people respect the ordinance."

Two thirds of Portland voters -- an overwhelming 67 percent -- on November 5 voted to legalize possession of up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana for adults 21 and older. Under the ordinance, adults are allowed to possess marijuana in public, but not use it openly.

It is still illegal to buy or sell cannabis in Portland, and landlords can still ban pot smoking in their apartments.

Medical marijuana is already allowed under Maine state law. Maine is also one of 16 states that have decriminalized possession, meaning anyone caught with under 2.5 ounces is subject only to a civil summons and a fine, not criminal charges.

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