AUGUSTA – An attempt to legalize and tax marijuana was strongly rejected by the Maine House in a vote taken this morning.

Lawmakers voted 107 to 39 against the bill, sponsored by state Rep. Diane Russell, D-Portland. Russell, in a lengthy and impassioned floor speech, argued that legalizing marijuana would free up law enforcement to focus on more serious drug and crime offenses.

“I believe it is time we see these policies through the lens of public health and not through the lens of the criminal justice system,” she said.

Opponents said while legalization may be inevitable, Maine should not become the first state to do so and noted that marijuana is still illegal under federal law.


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