Representative Diane Russell (D - Portland) held a news conference Wednesday morning to advocate for her bill. It would keep the current medical marijuana laws on the books, but also allow people to posess and cultivate marijuana for personal use.
The law would allow people to grow small amounts for personal use and subject sales to a 7 percent tax, with the revenue directed to law enforcement, agricultural programs, land preservation, weatherization and higher education.
The Legislature already has killed two bills in this session that would have increased the amount of marijuana that people could possess without facing criminal charges.
Possession of small amounts of marijuana is now a civil, not criminal, violation under Maine laws.
"We're dealing with the world as it is," Russell said of the legalization effort.
The bill contains provisions to limit the ability of people younger than 21 to obtain marijuana, with penalties for selling or marketing marijuana to anyone under 21 and no-sale areas around schools.