June 13, 2013

City validates petitions on legalization of marijuana

Portland residents may vote in November on allowing possession of up to 2.5 ounces without penalty

By Randy Billings rbillings@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

PORTLAND — Organizers of a petition effort to legalize recreational use of marijuana in the state’s largest city have obtained enough signatures to put the issue to voters this November, the city said Tuesday.   

The City Clerk’s Office has certified 2,508 of the more than 3,200 signatures submitted last month. Only 1,500 valid signatures were needed to put the question on the ballot.   

The milestone comes one day after the Legislature voted against putting marijuana legalization on the state ballot.   

City Hall spokeswoman Nicole Clegg said the City Council will meet June 17 to decide whether to put the petition question to voters, offer a competing ballot question or simply adopt the proposed measure as written.   

The measure would allow people 21 and older to possess as much as 2.5 ounces of marijuana. It would prohibit smoking of marijuana in public and allow landlords to prohibit it in their apartments by posting “no smoking” signs.   

Although the ordinance would make a strong political statement, it would have little real effect: State and federal laws against possession could still be enforced in the city, and the measure wouldn’t set up a legal way to distribute recreational marijuana like Maine’s system of prescriptions, caregivers and dispensaries for medical marijuana.

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