diane russell

Maine: Governor LePage Warns Against 'Deadly' Marijuana In Over-the-top Video

Paul LePage.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Maine Governor Paul LePage released a false and misleading video Thursday attempting to convince voters to vote "no" on "Question 1", the state's marijuana legalization referendum up for a vote on the upcoming ballot.

“Question 1 is not just bad for Maine, it can be deadly,” LePage warns, before falsely claiming traffic fatalities have gone up in Colorado since the state legalized recreational pot.

He makes a claim that “people addicted to marijuana are three times more likely to be addicted to heroin.” He predicts a future where children and pets die from accidentally consuming “marijuana snacks,” and in which drug culture impinges on “schools, daycare centers and churches.”

“They will smoke weed and sell pot at state fairs,” he adds. “Businesses could not fire employees for using marijuana.”

According to a recent report from the Drug Policy Alliance, marijuana has had no noticeable effect on traffic deaths in either Colorado or Washington.

And marijuana has been proven to reduce opioid deaths. In the 23 states where medical marijuana was legal in 2014, there were nearly 25 percent fewer deaths from opioid overdoses, according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Maine State Rep. Diane Russell (D) of Portland believes the video could actually help the campaign for legalization.

Maine: Marijuana Initiative Supporters File Lawsuit Challenging Ballot Disqualification

Maine2016RegulateMarijuanaLikeAlcohol

Backers of an initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol in Maine filed a lawsuit in Kennebec County Superior Court on Thursday challenging the Secretary of State’s decision to disqualify the measure from the November ballot.

According to the suit, which is now available online at http://bit.ly/1pzNhVO, state officials improperly invalidated thousands of signatures of registered Maine voters and unlawfully denied citizens their constitutional right to vote on the measure.

Campaign leader David Boyer and attorney Scott Anderson announced the details of the suit at a news conference in the office of Portland law firm Verrill Dana. Anderson is representing a group of Maine voters who signed the petition in support of the initiative, including Boyer, State Sen. Eric Brakey, and State Rep. Diane Russell, among others.

Last week, the Secretary of State’s Office announced that the proposed initiative did not qualify for the November ballot. With 61,123 signatures of registered Maine voters required, state officials determined that initiative backers submitted 51,543 valid signatures.

In a document explaining their determination, state officials said they invalidated more than 5,000 petitions, which included more than 26,000 total petition signatures, solely due to their finding that the signature of a notary did not “match” the signature the state has on file. It appears more than 17,000 signatures were otherwise valid signatures of registered Maine voters.

Maine: Marijuana Legalization Initiative Backers File Lawsuit Challenging Disqualification

MaineCampaignToRegulateMarijuanaLikeAlcohol2016

Backers of an initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol in Maine will file a lawsuit in Kennebec County Superior Court on Thursday that challenges the Secretary of State’s decision to disqualify the measure from the November ballot.

Campaign leader David Boyer and attorney Scott Anderson will announce the details of the suit at a news conference at 1 p.m. ET Thursday in the office of Portland law firm Verrill Dana (One Portland Square, 9th Floor). Anderson is representing a group of Maine voters who signed the petition in support of the initiative, including Boyer, State Sen. Eric Brakey, and State Rep. Diane Russell.

Last week, the Maine Secretary of State’s Office announced that a proposed initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Maine did not qualify for the November ballot. While 61,123 signatures of registered Maine voters were required, state officials determined that initiative backers submitted 51,543 valid signatures.

It appears that more than 17,000 valid signatures of registered Maine voters were not included in the count because the signature of an individual notary did not match the signature the state has on file for that notary.

WHAT: News conference to discuss lawsuit challenging the Maine Secretary of State’s decision to disqualify the initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol

WHEN: Thursday, March 10, 1 p.m. ET

WHERE: Office of law firm Verrill Dana, 9th Floor, One Portland Square, Portland

WHO: Scott Anderson, partner, Verrill Dana
David Boyer, CRMLA campaign manager

Maine: Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Submits Petition Signatures

MaineCampaignToRegulateMarijuanaLikeAlcohol2016

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol on Monday submitted its petitions to state officials in support of a ballot initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Maine.

The campaign collected 103,115 total signatures and needs at least 61,123 valid signatures of registered Maine voters to qualify for the November ballot. Voters from over 400 Maine towns signed the petition.

State Rep. Diane Russell joined the campaign for a news conference in front of the campaign’s headquarters in Falmouth (183 U.S. Route 1). Campaign leaders and volunteers then loaded boxes of petitions onto a truck and delivered them to the Maine Secretary of State in Augusta.

“Over the past eight months, we've talked to more than 100,000 voters across the state, from Kittery to Caribou,” said campaign manager David Boyer. “Most Mainers agree it is time to end the failed policy of marijuana prohibition, and they will have the opportunity to do it this November.”

The proposed initiative would allow adults 21 years of age and older to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and grow a limited number of marijuana plants in their homes. It would also establish the framework for a tightly regulated system of licensed marijuana retail stores, cultivation facilities, product-manufacturing facilities, and testing facilities, and it would create rules governing the cultivation, testing, transportation, and sale of marijuana.

The initiative would enact a 10 percent tax on marijuana sales.

Maine: Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol to Submit Signatures Monday

MaineCampaignToRegulateMarijuanaLikeAlcohol2016

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol on Monday will submit its petition to state officials in support of a ballot initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Maine.

The campaign collected more than 100,000 total signatures and needs at least 61,123 valid signatures of registered Maine voters to qualify for the November ballot.

State Rep. Diane Russell will join the campaign for a news conference at 10 a.m. ET on Monday in front of the campaign’s headquarters in Falmouth (183 U.S. Route 1).

Campaign leaders and volunteers will then load boxes of petitions onto a truck and deliver them to the Maine Secretary of State in Augusta (111 Sewall St.) at approximately 12 p.m. ET.

“Over the past six months, we’ve talked to tens of thousands of voters from all over the state,” said campaign manager David Boyer. “Most Mainers agree it is time to end the failed policy of marijuana prohibition, and they will have the opportunity to do it this November.”

WHAT: News conference and submission of petitions in support of the initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol in Maine

WHEN: Monday, February 1, news conference at 10 a.m. ET; petitions will be delivered to the Maine Bureau of Corporations, Elections, and Commissions at approximately 12 p.m. ET

WHERE: News conference at CRMLA headquarters, 183 U.S. Route 1 (around back of the building), Falmouth; petitions will then be delivered to the Maine Bureau of Corporations, Elections, and Commissions, Burton Cross Building, 111 Sewall St., 4th Floor, Augusta

Maine: State Lawmakers Choose Not To Place Marijuana Referendum On Ballot

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Maine state lawmakers on Monday decided they will not place a measure on the ballot to regulate and tax marijuana for adult use. LD 1380, sponsored by Rep. Diane Russell (D-Portland), was defeated in the House 45-98 and in the Senate without a recorded vote.

State senators on Monday unanimously killed another pro-legalization bill, LD 1401, sponsored by another Portland Democrat, Rep. Mark Dion, reports Mario Moretto at the Bangor Daily News.

“The legislature’s failure to act should not be mistaken for waning public interest in marijuana policy reform," said David Boyer, campaign manager for the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, which is in the process of placing a citizen initiative on the 2016 ballot that would end marijuana prohibition in Maine. "Elected officials have always followed the citizens’ lead on this issue.

"Maine voters will still have the final say, and we expect they will say it’s time to end marijuana prohibition," Boyer said.

“Marijuana prohibition is a counterproductive and antiquated policy," Boyer said. "Most people are just fed up with it at this point. It’s time to regulate marijuana, tax it, and start treating it similarly to alcohol.”

For more information on The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, visit http://www.RegulateMaine.org.

Graphic: The Smoking Bud

Maine: Statewide Ballot Initiative To Legalize Marijuana Filed Tuesday

Maine-RegulateMarijuanaLikeAlcohol

Measure backed by diverse committee of Maine citizens — including state and local officials, businesspeople, and clergy — would establish a legal market for licensed businesses to sell marijuana to adults 21 and older

A statewide ballot initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol will be filed Tuesday with the Maine Secretary of State.

The leader of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, David Boyer of Falmouth, will submit the language along with the signatures of five registered Maine voters who support the measure, as required by state law. The five signers will be State Rep. Diane Russell of Portland; local farmer and former Republican State Rep. Aaron Libby of Waterboro; Androscoggin County Commissioner and Lewiston School Board Member Matt Roy; Rev. Deane Perkins of Belfast; and Sherry DaBiere, a York-based real estate agent and grandmother.

“I am supporting this initiative because it will make Maine a safer place for my children and my grandchildren,” DaBiere said. “Marijuana should be regulated and controlled so that we know who is selling it, what they’re selling, and where it’s being sold.

"I do not want future generations to be exposed to the same failed prohibition laws that I had to grow up with," DaBiere said. "It’s time to end the reefer madness.”

Maine: Race To Legalize Marijuana Heating Up With Competing Initiatives

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

With two citizen referendums competing for the ballot -- either of which would legalize recreational marijuana in Maine -- Democratic state Rep. Diane Russell is introducing a bill in the Legislature which would accomplish the same goal through regulation and taxation.

Rep. Russell said that cannabis legalization is inevitable in Maine, with three marijuana-related bills alreadyu under consideration by lawmakers, reports Jonah Bennett at the Daily Caller.

Russell's bill would reinstate liquor inspectors and put them in charge of marijuana, as well. Marijuana would be regulated similarly to alcohol under her plan.

"It would dedicate tax revenue, significant tax revenue, to school construction so that we can make sure we're building new schools and remodeling old schools so our children have an opportunity to have a solid education," Russell told CBS 13.

There is growing uncertainty in Maine around exactly how cannabis legalization will look in the state, with competing initiatives from the Marijuana Policy Project and Legalize Maine vying for the ballot in 2016.

Maine: State Lawmaker Taking Third Try At Legalizing Marijuana

DianeRussell

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Portland voters this month legalized adult possession of small amounts of marijuana, and now a Maine lawmaker is hoping that will provide momentum to support her third attempt to pass a bill allowing the sale and taxation of cannabis statewide.

Ironically, the group behind the new Portland ordinance, as well as many medical marijuana caregivers and dispensary owners, don't want to see Portland Democrat Rep. Diane Russell's bill move forward, reports Leslie Bridgers at the Portland Press Herald.

The Maine Legislative Council is scheduled to decide on Thursday if Russell's proposal should be taken up as an "emergency bill" in the next session, which starts in January.

"There's no sense we have an emergency on our hands," said Portland City Councilor David Marshall, a leader in the local Green Party, which pushed to legalize pot in the city.

Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine, a trade association of people who grow and provide medicinal cannabis, also opposes the bill. "Time is needed to develop a good law that generates revenue for the state and benefits as many Maine people as possible," reads a letter sent out by the group.

Russell's last two legalization attempts, one in 2011 and one last spring, were both voted down in the Maine Legislature's Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee.

Maine: Portland Voters Approve Marijuana Legalization With Landslide Vote

DavidBoyerMPPPortlandLegalization

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Portland, Maine on Tuesday became the first city on the East Coast to legalize marijuana, with voters overwhelmingly approving ballot Question 1, an ordinance removing all penalties for adult possession of small amounts of cannabis.

Unofficial totals showed the proposal passing with 67 percent of the vote, 9,921 to 4,823, reports Randy Billings at the Portland Press Herald.

The city ordinance allows people 21 and older to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana, and is seen by many activists as a foot in the door to statewide legalization. The immediate effects, however, are unclear.

Portland Police Chief Michael Sauschuck has already said that regardless of the vote, officers will continue enforcing Maine state law, under which possession of up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis can result in fines of $350 to $1,000, along with a civil summons. Selling or providing pot to others can result in criminal charges.

The city should respect the voters and not arrest or fine adults for marijuana possession, according to David Boyer, Maine political director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). "We call on city officials to stop the bleeding," Boyer said. "It's time for the state of Maine to follow Portland."

Maine: Senate Refuses To Let Voters Decide On Marijuana Legalization

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Maine Senate on Monday blocked a chance for the state's voters to decide for themselves at the ballot box whether to legalize marijuana for recreational use.

The Senate voted 24-10 Monday morning against sending the question to November's ballot, reports Christopher Cousins at the Bangor Daily News. That followed a Friday vote in the House of Representatives where the measure, LD 1229, sponsored by Rep. Diane Russell (D-Portland), fell four votes short of passage.

LD 1229 would have created a system of regulating and taxing marijuana. After a majority of the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee opposed that plan, lawmakers voting with the minority moved forward with an amendment calling for a voter referendum, giving them a chance to decide, on a straight up-or-down question, whether Maine should craft rules to allow the legal, recreational use of cannabis. That was the question being debated on Monday in the Senate.

Some senators argued that the Maine Legislature should act before the issue is forced upon them by a voter initiative, but others seemed mostly concerned with not having their votes recorded as "supporting marijuana legalization."

Maine: Lawmakers To Hold First Hearing On Bill To Legalize Marijuana

(Graphic: Medical Marijuana Blog)Group of legislators will join local advocates to discuss the measure at a pre-hearing news conference in the State House Welcome Center Friday

Bipartisan group of 35 legislators co-sponsoring bill to establish a legal market for businesses to sell marijuana to adults 21 and older

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Maine Joint Standing Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety will hold a hearing Friday at 10 a.m. ET Friday, May 3, on a bill that would make possession of limited amounts of marijuana legal for adults 21 and older and establish a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol.

"A majority of Americans are ready to move beyond marijuana prohibition, and this bill presents our legislature with a golden opportunity to take the initiative to develop a sensible new approach," said David Boyer, Maine political director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). "I hope members of the legislature will keep in mind our state motto, 'Dirigio' or 'I lead,' when hearing testimony and casting their votes on this bill.

"Marijuana is objectively far less harmful than alcohol for the consumer and for society," Boyer said. "People are fed up with laws that punish adults for making the safer choice."

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