November 1, 2013

Several lawmakers to endorse legalizing pot in Portland

The local referendum would allow possession of up to 2.5 ounces.

By Randy Billings
Staff Writer

Several state representatives and a local business owner are expected to throw their support behind an initiative that would legalize possession of marijuana by adults in Portland.

Reps. Benjamin Chipman, Matthew Moonen, Diane Russell and Peter Stuckey are supporting Question 1, the local referendum that would legalize possession of up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana, according to the Marijuana Policy Project. The Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group is supporting the Portland referendum and trying to legalize marijuana in 10 states in the coming years.

The proposal will be Question 1 on the city ballot Nov. 5.

The representatives are expected to announce their support at a news conference Friday in front of East End Cupcakes on Fore Street, where owner Alysia Zoidkis also is expected endorse passage of Question 1.

Portland’s initiative would not legalize the sale or purchase of marijuana, but would allow anyone 21 or older to “engage in activities for the purposes of ascertaining the possession of marijuana and paraphernalia.”

It would prohibit recreational use of marijuana in public spaces, on school grounds or in transportation infrastructure, and would let landlords prohibit tenants from using marijuana on their property.

Police would still be authorized to cooperate with federal drug agents, and marijuana use will remain illegal under state and federal law regardless of the outcome of Portland’s vote.

There has been no organized opposition to the initiative, which is being spearheaded by the Portland Green-Independent Committee.

During the last legislative session, Russell proposed a bill to put the legalization question to voters statewide, but it failed by four votes in the House and 17 votes in the Senate.

Randy Billings can be contacted at 791-6346 or Twitter: @randybillings


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