A proposal to let Maine voters decide if marijuana should be regulated like alcohol received near majority support Friday in a vote of the Maine House of Representatives.
The proposed amendment to LD 1229, a bill introduced by Rep. Diane Russell (D-Portland) with a bipartisan group of 35 co-sponsors, was defeated 71-67. It would have placed a measure on the ballot calling on the Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services, Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages, and Lottery Operations to develop rules and legislation for a legal marijuana market for adults 21 years of age or older. The proposal will now be considered in the Senate where it must receive a simple majority to be sent back to the House for reconsideration. A two-thirds majority will then be required to refer the measure to the ballot.
This is some of the highest level of support seen for such a bill in a state legislature. Recently, the Colorado legislature approved bills to establish regulations for the legal marijuana market. HB 1318 received votes of 37-27 in the House and 25-10 in the Senate. HB 1317 got 35-29 votes in the House and 32-3 in the Senate, and SB 283 was 62-3 in the House and 32-2 in the Senate.
As more and more states consider reforming their marijuana laws, we can hopefully expect the level of support to rise as more of their constituents come to see the failure of marijuana prohibition.