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Marijuana Legalization Measure Formally Introduced in Maine with 35 Co-Sponsors

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director March 28, 2013

    This week, Representative Diane Russell (D-Portland) formally introduced LD 1229: An Act to Tax and Regulate Marijuana into the Maine legislature. This legislation would legalize the sale of as much as 2 1/2 ounces of marijuana per week to people 21 or older at licensed retail locations. It would also permit for the cultivation of the plant in private settings. The measure has been assigned to the Joint Standing Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety, but has yet to be scheduled for a hearing.

    In a previous session, an earlier version of Russell’s legalization measure was rejected by House lawmakers by a vote of 107 to 39. States Rep. Russell: “I think there’s been a major culture shift since I introduced this bill in 2011. What we’ll see is a lot more folks ready to talk about this issue.”

    This cultural shift is readily apparent in the groundswell of support this legislation has already generated. LD 1229 was introduced with the backing of 35 co-sponsors from across the political spectrum. Those supporting the bill were 2 tribal representatives, 28 Democrats, 3 Republicans, and 1 independent. The previous version of this measure only had 4 co-sponsors.

    NORML is pleased to support this historic legislation that would make Maine the third state to legalize the adult consumption of marijuana and regulate its retail production and sale. This is common sense legislation that would put Maine at the vanguard of a reform which is not only supported by over half of the country, but would also save the state precious law enforcement resources, create a new job and tax producing industry, stop the arrest of non-violent citizens, enhance protection of civil liberties, and help keep marijuana out of the hands of Maine’s children. We urge Representative Russell’s colleagues to join with her and the 35 co-sponsors of LD 1229 in taking a stand to end the state’s prohibition on marijuana and to start creating a safer Maine.

    Our supporters generated hundreds of emails to their elected officials urging them to co-sponsor this measure and it looks like that outpouring of support is already paying off. However, we need to keep up the momentum. If you live in Maine, please take a moment today to contact your Representative and State Senator and urge them to support this important legislation. You can do so using NORML’s Take Action Center here.

    33 Responses to “Marijuana Legalization Measure Formally Introduced in Maine with 35 Co-Sponsors”

    1. Don Berry says:

      Fine, except for the $50/ounce excise tax. Where does that come from? If alcohol and tobacco were taxed at a similar rate, the retail price of those products would be absurdly high. This tax will keep much less harmful marijuana products ridiculously expensive and continue to favor the use of alcohol and tobacco.

    2. Bob says:

      I understand that this course of Legalization is necessary to get where I hope marijuana is totally legal. I just hate playing the you can tax people for it as a cure. I think a lot of people must feel the same.

    3. Dave says:

      Somewhat like a perfect V Washington, Colorado, and hopefully the state of Maine V for victory and hopefully will spread across the land

    4. chris says:

      Just want to be sure, its 50.00 an ounce tax? now is that for the sale or does apply to those who will take advantage of the growers choice for personal useage? not all growers are going to yeild the same amount of flowers, so how would that work out if even the grower has to pay 50.00 for his or her yeild/ ounce, when no one but the grower can be honest about how much their crops yeiled?
      I understand it if it is to the whole sale only, even tho it is kinda steep, I understand it.
      Any one got another angles to view this from?
      Im curious on this because no matter what, the Federal Government needs to see progress from any state regulating this matter, to be able to set up their own regulations, or to let the CSA be amended, so cannabis is no longer a part of the harmful clause…..

      as always
      thanks for reading
      chris

    5. Chadwick says:

      Talking about a post-legalization world here, as exists in Colorado and Washington, the $50 tax will be burdensome enough for consumers that many may attempt to subvert the tax.

      Accounting for an expected price drop of 50-80% given a limited time after legalization, let’s assume the following pre-tax retail prices:

      High Grade: $200/oz
      Mid Grade: $100/oz
      Low Grade: $50/oz

      Add $50, and you’ll get between a 25%-100% tax imposed upon the retail sale alone. Instead, if transactions from commercial growers were taxed at $10-25 an ounce, the tax would be reasonable. 5-25% (and up to 50% for mid grade) tax is friendly, whereas 25%-100% would make cannabis by far the highest taxed commodity.

      Why can’t MPP and NORML be there to help lawmakers crunch numbers?

    6. wbs 101 says:

      @Don Berry
      I don’t know where you live but by the time alcohol is purchased by you it is about the same tax wise. Have you ever been to a tax free shop when leaving the country? Alcohol is insanely cheap less than 1/2 price usually. My mom got a 3 liter bottle of Bacardi for $40 when she went on a cruise last year. That bottle would have been over $100 if purchased from a taxed liquor store. Look at it this way all the $50 dollar ounce taxes added up over your whole life won’t matter compared to a huge fine, possible jail/prison time, and a permanent record. My friend was fined $1000 for a pipe found in his car and it was his first offense. In Kansas being caught with a pipe can be $10,000 and jail time for first offense and it is the same punishment for any amount of weed even less than 1 gram. If you account for crap like this $50 an ounce tax is nothing I will be happy to give the government their bribe money even if it’s not quite fair it is better than what we have now.

    7. Don Berry says:

      @wbs
      I live in the USA where, according to the US Treasury, no tax on alcohol or tobacco products approaches the rate proposed for marijuana until the 1000 cigarette level. A pack of large cigarettes is taxed $2.11. An ounce of roll-your-own tobacco is taxed $1.5488. The highest alcohol tax is $13.50 on a gallon of 100 proof, beer and wine are taxed dramatically less.

      http://www.ttb.gov/tax_audit/atftaxes.shtml

      Proposed marijuana excise taxes are obscenely high in comparison and based on nothing factual. I’ll grow my own at home for free.

    8. Tony says:

      Let them tax it. We can fight to reduce taxes later or grow it ourselves.

    9. stephanie evans says:

      well it is a plant…how’s about putting that high of a tax on roses, lillies, lilacs, or anything else that’s a natural remedy? let’s see how far that would fly.

    10. anexamender says:

      I don’t care about a tax. I would gladly pay a 50 dollar an ounce tax. I’m always getting quarters, so that would be what, $12:50? That’s a small price to pay for legalization. I would much rather pay twelve extra dollars for a quarter than deal with cops, paranoid dealers and sketchy systems of supply and demand.

      Plus, you get to grow a plant in a private setting? Fuck. I want to be able to grow my own weed plant.

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