It's official - Maine voters will see marijuana legalization on the ballot when they vote in the General Election in November. The marijuana legalization initiative made the ballot after a legal battle that seemed ridiculous from the start. Below is a press release from the campaign:
State officials announced Wednesday that a proposed initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Maine has officially qualified for the November ballot.
After a court-ordered review of petitions it had previously invalidated, the Maine Secretary of State's Office determined the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol submitted more than the 61,123 signatures that were needed to qualify.
Last month, the secretary of state informed the campaign that the initiative had been disqualified because only 51,543 valid signatures had been submitted. The campaign filed a lawsuit challenging the decision, and a Kennebec County Superior Court judge ruled in their favor earlier this month after learning state officials invalidated more than 5,000 petitions ---which included more than 17,000 signatures from Maine voters that were validated by town clerks --- without actually reviewing every petition in question. The petition was then remanded to the Secretary of State's Office to review all of the disputed petitions and determine whether enough valid signatures were collected.
According to a new poll released this week by the Maine People's Resource Center, nearly 54% of likely voters would approve the initiative if the election were held today. Only about 42% said they would oppose it. The full results are available at https://www.mprc.me/0416_referendums.
Statement from David Boyer, campaign manager for the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol:
"This November, Maine voters will have the opportunity to adopt a more sensible marijuana policy. We are thrilled to finally start transitioning into the more substantive phase of this campaign. It has been a longer wait than expected, but nothing compared to how long the people of Maine have been waiting to end the failed policy of marijuana prohibition.
"It is time to replace the underground market with a regulated system of licensed marijuana businesses. It is time to redirect our state's limited law enforcement resources toward addressing serious crimes instead of enforcing failed prohibition policies. And it is time to stop punishing adults for using a substance that is significantly less harmful than alcohol."