One of the biggest problems affecting marijuana legalization now that four states have succeeded in ending marijuana prohibition is that everybody wants to get in on the game. But now it appears, at least in one state, legalizers have figured out it isn’t wise to split the funding, volunteers, and support between multiple competing initiatives to legalize marijuana.
In California, there are at least seven or eight different groups that have filed or will file initiatives for 2016. In Arizona, Massachusetts, and Maine, the pattern that has emerged is to have one grassroots-led, liberally-construed initiative competing against one professional-led, more-cautious initiative submitted by the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP).
Like MPP’s initiative that has already made the ballot in Nevada, these efforts are known by the branding “Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol” (CRMLA). But now, MPP is dropping its CRMLA in Maine and uniting behind the grassroots efforts of Legalize Maine to get their Maine legalization initiative on the ballot for 2016.
“Joining forces is the best step forward, not only for our respective campaigns, but for Maine as a whole,” explained David Boyer from MPP’s campaign in Maine via written statement. “We all agree marijuana prohibition has been a colossal failure and that it must be replaced with a system in which marijuana is legal for adults and regulated like alcohol. We can more effectively accomplish our shared goal by combining our resources and working together instead of on parallel tracks.”
Here are the details of the proposal for Maine legalization:
- Adults 21 and older may possess and share up to 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana (more than any other state), as well as all the marijuana they produce at their home grow (like Colorado and greater than Alaska and Oregon).
- Adults may cultivate up to 6 mature plants, 12 immature plants (non-flowering >18” tall x >12” wide), and unlimited seedlings (non-flowering <=18” tall x <=12” wide) (more plants than allowed in any other state). Adults may also share up to 6 immature plants or seedlings.
- Establishment of retail marijuana social clubs where adults may purchase marijuana and consume it on site (something no other state has yet legalized).
- No state limits on marijuana stores, but localities may limit or ban them. Stores will charge a 10 percent sales tax (lower than in any other state, except Oregon’s temporary tax-free 2015 sales).
- Rights to education, employment, and housing may not be denied solely for being a marijuana consumer (no more urine screens for school, work, and rentals, a protection of our rights not found in any other state).
- Rights to child custody and contact may not be denied solely for being a marijuana consumer (better protections than exist in any other state).
The campaign now needs to collect over 61,000 signatures from registered Maine voters to put this single initiative on the ballot. Paul McCarrier, head of Legalize Maine, is excited about the combined forces that will now be fighting to end marijuana prohibition in Maine, saying, “Both campaigns have done a great job of educating voters, organizing volunteers, and raising funds, and now we can ramp up those efforts even more.”
A spring poll by Portland-based Critical Insights found that 65 percent of Mainers support the legalization of marijuana.