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Maine Marijuana Legalization Bill Scheduled for Committee Hearing on Friday

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director May 2, 2013

    LD 1229, which aims to make Maine the third state to tax and regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol, has been scheduled for a hearing before the Joint Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety this Friday at 10am. The measure was introduced with the support of primary sponsor Representative Diane Russell (D-Portland) and 35 co-sponsors.

    NORML has been working closely with Rep. Russell in support of this historic legislation and we are hearing that the outpouring of grassroots support is having an impact. Elected officials in Maine are giving serious consideration to supporting this bill, many have already come over to our side. If this momentum keeps up, Maine stands an excellent chance of becoming the third state to legalize marijuana, but Mainers need to take action and urge their elected officials to stand behind this legislation.

    If you live in Maine, please consider attending the hearing in person. You can find the event details and RSVP by clicking here. Make sure you also click here to use NORML’s Take Action Center to contact your elected officials via email and urge them to support LD 1229.

    If you don’t live in Maine, you can still help get the word out. Share the above links on your Facebook/Twitter/etc and encourage your friends and family in Maine to take action to legalize marijuana.

    UPDATED: Click here to tune in live! The press conference starts at 9:20am EST and the hearing at 10:00am EST.

    Together, we WILL legalize marijuana.

    MAINE: CLICK HERE TO WRITE YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS AND HERE TO RSVP FOR THE HEARING!

    13 Responses to “Maine Marijuana Legalization Bill Scheduled for Committee Hearing on Friday”

    1. Cat Cassie says:

      Good luck Maine!!! I’ve got my fingers crossed for you.

    2. Ned says:

      This would be great. I did see however that the law is going to include a $50 per ounce tax, a 2.5 oz possession limit, and a 6 plant grow limit.

      First, will NORMAL please inform these legislators that a gross weight tax is, well, stupid. Alcohol is taxed not the gross liquid amount it comes in. Meaning beer is taxed differently than wine or spirits due to it’s alcohol content. Not all marijuana has equal THC content so the tax must reflect this. The unintended consequence of a gross weight tax is to seek higher and higher strength for a given weight. Tax THC not plant matter!

      Second weight possession thresholds are stupid and unnecessary also. There’s no limit to how much alcohol or tobacco I can have, why should there be with cannabis? What if my 6 plants plants produce six pounds? Am I expected to throw the overage away? Will 2.4 ozs. be just fine but 2.6 land me in jail? That’s ridiculous.
      I’m glad to see legalization happening but it’s frustrating to see it in such timid and needlessly restrictive way.

      Create product types (flower, concentrates, edibles) and THC content ranges for an excise tax that does not exceed 10% of the retail price. Sales tax for non medical use, patients with cards are exempt. A poorly thought out taxation regimen will create huge problems that could easily be avoided. Tax too highly and the black market will continue.

      The problem is that the people with power to do this have no idea how to do it well.

    3. Chris says:

      Please support this bill. Maine will benefit greatly from the taxes.

    4. Sam says:

      Alabama is gonna be the 3rd state. Then the moon.

    5. Dave Evans says:

      “First, will NORMAL please inform these legislators that a gross weight tax is, well, stupid. Alcohol is taxed not the gross liquid amount it comes in. Meaning beer is taxed differently than wine or spirits due to it’s alcohol content. Not all marijuana has equal THC content so the tax must reflect this. The unintended consequence of a gross weight tax is to seek higher and higher strength for a given weight. Tax THC not plant matter!”

      Can’t say this makes sense to me… The whole idea that we can logically transfer alcohol regulations onto marijuana is not a smart direction to head off in. “Regulate like Alcohol” doesn’t have to mean we’ll just treat marijuana like alcohol. Firstly, alcohol is a poison and its concentration in hard booze is a completely different from “strong marijuana”. The alcohol is taxed at a higher rate to help slow down an individual’s consumption of hard liquor which can easily kill that person or someone else via drunken mistakes. To imply this somehow applies to marijuana just goes to show you don’t really understand the issues at hand…

      Also, the weight restrictions are there to regulate the marijuana. If people have pounds and pounds of weed just laying around, kids are going to get into it. Obviously, it has to have some regulations attached. When the police stop you for breaking some law, you are allowed to be in possession up to one ounce. You could in theory buy an ounce on Tuesday and another on Wednesday, just don’t have more than one ounce on you when you’re driving or out and about. Do you tell people where you keep your valuables?

      Also, if you had even a tiny bit an attention span you might have noticed this question has been answered dozens of times: You can grow much pot from your six plants as is possible. How is anyone going to know you have all this weed unless you’re advertising it for illegal sales? This law only trips up people acting like assholes; you know what laws are supposed to do. It is supposed to break the black market.

    6. Derik says:

      Good luck from TN!

    7. Ned says:

      “The whole idea that we can logically transfer alcohol regulations onto marijuana is not a smart direction to head off in. “Regulate like Alcohol” doesn’t have to mean we’ll just treat marijuana like alcohol.”

      I’d be happy if it wasn’t excise taxed at all. But since it’s going to be, and since state bureaucracies have been regulating alcohol, it would seem easiest for them to modify and adapt the existing regulatory model to a substance used in a similar way as alcohol. Plus taxing the THC content is more fair anyway. Why should very different strengths be taxed at the same rate? I understand the issues EXTREMELY well, I’ve been professionally involved with cannabis since 1976. Just because it isn’t toxic like alcohol doesn’t mean designing an excise tax based on content does “not make sense”? It makes more sense than any other basis. May be you don’t understand. So tell me exactly what issues you think I don’t.

      You make purely speculative assumptions when you say that possession of quantity automatically means “kids are going to get into it”. People collect wines, maintain large cellars, large gun collections, all things needing to be secured from minors. I don’t need the government deciding what amount I can have or store in my home. I have no kids. Why do I need this restriction? I don’t. Nobody does. The regulations needed are about production, distribution, and sales, not private possession. Your hypothetical that I can buy it ounce by ounce as needed simply to limit possession is utterly unnecessary, onerous, and bound to cause more problems than it solves.

      Sorry but I see no reason to create a legal contradiction between possession limits and privately grown larger quantities. It’s not consistent with other legal products and is bound to cause problems.
      Take this hypothetical? Say I grow 5 pounds over the summer, and several months later still have 4 pounds in my house, and there’s a fire, or a burglary, or any number of reasons the amount is “discovered” by some government agency or official. Am I going to have to prove I grew it? Might I be dragged to jail and then forced to sort it all out later? Sorry but possession limits are not true legality and they serve no truly necessary purpose other than as a “feel good” measure for the fearful. The point of legality is to normalize its place in society, not create some cramped semi legal purgatory.

    8. Louis says:

      So the question I have is that if someone grows there own marijuana in Maine will this require taxes to be paid the same as if someone purchasing it retail?

      [Paul Armentano responds: Proposed taxes are on commercial production and retail sales.]

    9. Anonymous says:

      I don’t really see why anyone would need more than 2.5 ounces at a time. If politicians and lawmakers want to feel like they’re in control by having a possession limit, they can go ahead and just keep living their illusion.

    10. Ned says:

      To Anonymous:

      How about to host a large gathering? Say a harvest celebration party of 100+ people. Will the law divide the quantity among all involved even it was all supplied by the host? Do you want to have to worry about that as the host?

      Just because YOU don’t see it, doesn’t mean valid circumstances couldn’t or wouldn’t ever arise. Possession limits are not true legality.
      REGULATE PRODUCTION, DISTRIBUTION, AND SALES ONLY.And only as needed to collect excise tax, zone commerce reasonably, ensure quality and provide strength info and a level competitive playing field, and prevent sales to minors. And that’s it.

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