March 5, 2013

Greens seek to legalize pot in Portland

A committee plans to collect signatures for a referendum on making marijuana possession legal in the city.

By Eric Russell erussell@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Glenn Lewis lights a joint in his Manchester, Maine home in October 2012. The Portland Green Independent Committee is seeking to legalize the possession of up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana in Portland.

Gabe Souza / Staff Photographer

The Green Independent Party represents only about 5.5 percent of all Portland voters, although two city councilors and one school committee member are Greens.

Russell said her bill has not been finalized, but she sees no harm in having local leaders in Portland work on the issue. She is more hopeful than Marshall that an initiative could pass statewide.

"We have a fair amount of growing support. I'm pleasantly surprised," she said Tuesday.

There is some sense in the cannabis community that Portland already is extremely pot friendly. The website webehigh.org ranks communities on a scale of 1 (very illegal) to 5 (virtually legal). Portland comes in at 4.5.

MacMillan said gathering 1,500 signatures in a city of more than 66,000 people should not be that difficult.

Two years ago, however, the Portland Greens gathered more than 2,100 signatures for a referendum that would have made marijuana the lowest priority for police. That measure didn't move forward because too many of those signatures were found to be invalid.

This time, MacMillan said, supporters have more time and believe that opinions about legalizing marijuana have evolved.

"The biggest thing is: The state is losing money by not taxing and regulating this," he said.

Staff Writer Eric Russell can be contacted at 791-6344 or at:

erussell@pressherald.com

Twitter: @PPHEricRussell

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Today's poll: Legalize pot?

Do you think Portland should legalize marijuana?

Yes

No

View Results