When talking about states that have a chance of legalizing cannabis for recreational purposes in 2016, Maine was always in the discussion when it comes to states that have the best chance of seeing legalization make it to the ballot. But that possibility is in danger.
Even though the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CRMLA) turned almost 100,000 signatures to the Maine Secretary of State’s Office, the state says the group is over 9,000 signatures short of the roughly 61,000 valid signatures needed to make the ballot this fall.
The group’s Campaign manager, David Boyer, says the problem is that some 17,000 signatures were marked invalid by the state because a single notary’s own signature didn’t exactly match the signature they had on record.
The CRMLA is looking into ways to get the decision reversed; if they can’t, legalization might be finished in Maine for this year. That outcome would leave a lot of people in the state as criminals. Not only that, but all the jobs and economic activity that comes with legalization would be absent for a least another year.
As is usually the case, attempts to bring recreational legalization to the ballot has drawn criticism from those who currently use the state’s legal medical marijuana system. This has become a common battle in state after state; medical vs recreational consumers.
But in the end, the goal has to be legal cannabis for all adults. It’s human nature to be protective of what you have, but if all cannabis users are not free, are any truly free? Can something really be called a freedom if it is not enjoyed by everyone?
The door for legalization will not be open forever; how many will get through before it’s closed again?