Push to Legalize Marijuana in Maine Can Move Forward

Politics
Push to Legalize Marijuana in Maine Can Move Forward

(Reuters)

The effort to legalize recreational marijuana in Maine is back on track after a judge overturned a ruling by the Secretary of State’s office that had invalidated thousands of signatures turned in by The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol.

Last month the group turned in almost 100,000 signatures, way more than the 61,000+ needed. But when the Secretary of State’s office invalidated almost half of the group’s signatures, they didn’t have enough. So they appealed the decision.

Last week Maine Business and Consumer Court Justice Michaela Murphy ruled that the state had used an "incorrect and improper standard" when they invalidated a large group of signatures on what the CRMLA called a “handwriting technicality.”

The group now turns its attention to educating people in the state on the need for cannabis legalization for recreational purposes. For their part, state officials are weighing their options on whether to continue to fight the ballot measure.

According to the CRMLA in Maine’s website: “The initiative allows adults 21 years of age and older to possess a limited amount of marijuana, grow a limited number of marijuana plants in their homes, and possess the marijuana produced by those plants. It will remain illegal to use marijuana in public.”

The measure also includes a 10% sales tax that will not be applied to the medical marijuana industry in the state.

The year 2016 is a pivotal year in the short history of the marijuana law reform movement. Every victory brings us that much closer to national legalization. Opportunities like the one in Maine cannot be wasted.

As I’ve said many times before, the time for legalization is now. People are needlessly suffering all across the country. The sooner that ends, the better.