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November 2013
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Portland, Maine

Yesterday, the voters in Portland, Maine legalized the possession of up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana for recreational purposes. The measure passed overwhelmingly with 70% of voters in favor.

Note: it doesn’t legalize the sale or growing of marijuana, so it’s only a partial “legalization,” but still, pretty impressive.

Note: The police say they will continue to arrest people for possession based on state laws, and yesterday, Kevin Sabet’s Project SAM set up shop in Portland.

Meanwhile, in Colorado, 65% of voters approved the new marijuana taxes – a 15% excise tax and a 10% sales tax. While those taxes are significant (and significantly higher than alcohol taxes), and I’m concerned that the state do what it can do encourage legal channels at the beginning rather than discouraging them, still I think that smart producers will still be able to achieve a price point that will satisfy purchasers who would like to buy legally. And the taxes will help the political future of legalization.

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25 comments to Portland, Maine

  • claygooding

    It removes the marijuana possession arrests bounty from the funding of police agencies. They didn’t set themselves up any kind of production or distribution system and that makes any federal effort to stop cannabis commerce even harder to investigate and convict,,they can’t use the possession arrest to lever the defendant to turn over their dealer like they do now.

    • claygooding

      I left out the fact that a jury of voters will have to convict for the cops arrest from voters that legalized it,,I don’t think they will like it when people start taking them to court for a jury trial on every possession case,,they think the courts are bogged down now wait until they have a thousand possession cases on the books and no prosecutor willing to take it to court,,since they are judged by winning cases,not losing them.

      • Plant Down Babylon

        Only if they have the balls not to plea out. Plus, if it’s a small enough infraction, it’s trial by judge, not 12 of your peers (at least here in Hawaii).

        We need to repeal Byrne grants so the prosecutors have no monetary incentive to prosecute.

        • kaptinemo

          It needs to go much further than that.

          Again, with a generational shift underway, one in which a very significant portion of the population favors re-legalization, you can, of course, expect that, with the arrogance of having had things their way for so long – and thus seeming to them to be a natural law – the prohibs will continue to act as if that shift has not happened. And thus they will play right into reformer hands.

          All it will take is for one arrogant, ‘roid-addled prohib to make public statements to the effect of “F- the public! I’ll keep arresting pot-heads!” and then there will be plenty of incentive to begin to examine how to wrest control of local police away from the Federal grip…and it starts with first examining those Byrne grants and other lesser-known Fed (taxpayer-funded) ‘grants’.

          Then, on to the meat of the matter: police budgets, themselves. Because, if they’re getting such ‘caviar-and-champagne’ items courtesy of those ‘grants’, then they might not need so much of the local taxpayer’s money, after all.

          If the prohibs don’t shut up and soon, they’ll have the baleful gaze of that new generation of voters focused on them. Baleful, because said new voters know they’d been lied to…and it was the prohibs who did the lying. With their tax money. To their faces, and the prohibs (again, with an unconscious hubris that borders on mental illness) think they can continue to do so with impunity.

          Long past time to yank the guard dog’s chain for trying to eat your (local budgetary) kibble and the rich (Federal) neighbor’s steak…and only taking his orders, not yours. Cutting police budgets is a good way to resume that local control once more.

  • Tony Aroma

    Aren’t the police public servants? Don’t they work for the people? Haven’t the people decided how they want their police to handle marijuana possession? In what other job can you tell your boss you don’t care what they say, you’re going to do what you want? And still keep your job, that is.

    And what happens in the future when legalization is state wide? Will these local police decide they’ll only enforce federal law? Will they call in the DEA every time they catch somebody with a joint?

    • Windy

      “In what other job can you tell your boss you don’t care what they say, you’re going to do what you want? And still keep your job, that is.”
      What other job? Any elected office holder.

  • Justin Auldphart

    As a resident of VacationLand, I proudly stand ready to hit the streets whenever the legalization petition needs volunteers for signatures…The Portland cops say they will enforce state and Federal law but one hopes that the City Council or Mayor (presumably the ones the cops answer to) might have read the political winds…as for those SAM dickheads, Mainers can smell horseshit from a long way..

    • crut

      Mainers can smell horseshit from a long way..

      Well, if only NE wasn’t a friggin weather funnel for the rest of the east coast.

      lol, we unfortunately smell it from a short way all too often too…

  • Nick

    I have a feeling Kevin Sabet’s porn collection consists of traffic stops involving drugs and SWAT teams raiding homes in the wrong neighborhood. What a creep.

  • Servetus

    Know your enemy. Googling SAM organizer Scott Gagnon retrieves his c.v. at Healthy Androscoggin, a rehab organization in Maine:

    Scott Gagnon, MPP

    Substance Abuse Prevention Manager

    Scott has been working in the field of substance abuse prevention for several years. He began his career as the Program Evaluation Specialist for Day One; coordinating several state-wide programs including the Natural Helpers of Maine Program and the Maine Gambling Addiction Network. In addition he coordinated the SPEP grant in York County that created their five year substance abuse prevention strategic plan. Scott first joined Healthy Androscoggin at the beginning of 2010 as the Substance Abuse Prevention Coordinator for the Lewiston-Auburn Safe Schools/Healthy Students Initiative. Scott manages the substance abuse prevention grants and staff for Healthy Androscoggin.

    Scott currently serves as the Chairperson of the Maine Alliance to Prevent Substance Abuse Steering Committee. In addition, he serves on the Maine Substance Abuse Services Commission to which he was appointed by Governor Paul R. Lepage. Scott also sits on the Diversion Alert Advisory Board as well as the State Health Improvement Plan Mental Health and Substance Abuse Work group. He is also the Board President of the Maine Council on Problem Gambling. Scott has presented in Maine and nationally on a variety of topics including program evaluation, marijuana prevention strategies, prescription drug abuse prevention, and substance abuse issues amongst refugee populations.

    Mr. Gagnon holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the Edmund S. Muskie School of Public Service. Scott has two children, Portia and Mason. Scott enjoys composing, recording and performing improvisational and experimental music and is a member of the Lewiston Drum Group, the Yarmouth Different Drummers Drum Circle, as well as the Machias-based improvisation group, Les Trois Etoilles. He also enjoys travelling with his family including the yearly pilgrimages to Santa’s Village and Story Land in New Hampshire. Scott can be contacted by telephone at (207) 795-2120 or by email.

    Then there’s this Scott Gagnon—convicted in Maine in 2002 for arson—are they one and the same?

    • Nunavut Tripper

      Wow this guy is too much,really serious prohib lifestyle
      plus wild adventures at Santa’s Village to boot.

      Any way of finding out if it’s the same Scott Gagnon ?

  • N.T. Greene

    What do you know, a rehab organization being all for arrests for possession.

    It is like those drug testing laws in some states that the drug testing labs love so much despite being dumb and usually unconstitutional.

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  • Duncan20903

    .
    .

    WTF? The Maine State Police didn’t know that the State of Maine hasn’t authorized arrests for petty possession of cannabis for more than a few years now?

    Oh wait, I remember now that we had very recently determined that nowadays to get a job with the Police that the prospective cadet has to flunk the IQ test. Carry on.

  • pfroehlich2004

    Interestingly enough, Cumberland County (of which Portland is the seat) approved the 2009 initiative to allow dispensaries by roughly the same percentage (70%). Statewide, this initiative (Question 5), garnered 58% of the vote.

    Assuming a similar voting breakdown on full legalization, it would seem that Maine is ready now. Hopefully, MPP or DPA will see fit to kick in some dollars for a 2014 initiative, rather than waiting for the next presidential election.

  • Duncan20903

    .
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    Does anyone else think it fair to say that the prohibitionist parasites can’t get any lower and still qualify as human beings, even nominally? I don’t know what I’m going to think if people will just allow the jack booted thugs to stick their hands up people’s bung holes at their whimsy. I guess that watching people urinate has lost its panache for the jack boots.

    David Eckert Appears To Clench His Buttocks; Cops Order Enemas, Colonoscopy, X-Ray For Non-Existent Drugs

    I hope that if that were ever happen to me that it would happen when I’ve got a 3 pound juicy floater after a full day of eating onion rings yearning to swim free. But then I’m anal expulsive and the poor man in the linked article is obviously anal retentive.

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .

      Oh for crying out loud, the jack boots actually got a judge to sign a search warrant. I wonder if the judge gave them strict limits e.g. only allowed to search the suspects colon and small intestines, grant that the appendix if present is safe harbor or did he just give them leave to search the man’s entire GI track? Oh man, this is just so fucking wrong, and on so many levels.

      • allan

        gosh Duncan… we’re all discussing this one in Pete’s previous post —-> “Asshole police”

        • Duncan20903

          .
          .

          allan, I didn’t realize that you were the guy who upon finding a guy with a freshly broken leg snaps his fingers and says, “we need a ‘slippery when wet’ sign out here pronto!”

          I don’t know how I missed that thread but I don’t think you could argue that the title “Asshole police” is a very descriptive headline. Hardly a day goes by in my life when that phrase doesn’t wander through my mind on a very broad selection of subjects.

          By the way I’m pretty miserable sick yesterday and today. I’m not sure what it is. Not a cold, not the flu, the best description I can come up with is that somehow Kev-Kev got stuck in my GI tract and I’m going into systemic rejection of a foreign body. The point being that I’ve been taking diphenhydramine and that stuff always addles my brain. I do so enjoy learning new words. Today lesson was found in my effort to verify that I spelled “diphenhydramine” correctly. Diphenhydramine is a drug that can be delivered by parenteral means. Parenteral delivery means “taken into the body in a manner other than through the digestive canal.”

          It reminds me of the proverbial punchline searching for a joke: “…and then the doctor said, “Rectum? It damn near killed him!”

          P.S. I’ve been waxing philosophical today because this is the first time I’ve gotten sick in this millennium. It’s been making me think about the baseless allegations that people who choose to enjoy cannabis are sickly people causing them to miss work which in turn subtracts from GDP and might make the U.S. lose the world series to China. But then again I’m not too sure that straight people are at risk of finding Kev-Kev lodged in their bowels. Maybe I should blame it on cannabis after all.

    • N.T. Greene

      Perhaps he got anxious because he foresaw anal probing in his future.

      Or maybe he had to go to the restroom. That might make me roll through a stop sign. Imagine if that was the true story though… it makes this all the more disgusting, and not just because someone had to hold their poo forever.

  • kaptinemo

    Ever had diarrhea so bad that you thought you could create industrial diamonds in your crack from trying to keep your butt-cheeks together until you can get to ‘the can’? I have, too many times in this life, and I’m sure those cops have, too. No excuse for this travesty.

    This is one case where “Let the punishment fit the crime” is all too applicable. For the crime committed against Mr. Eckert, sawed-off broom handles being inserted where they were never meant to be vis-a-vis his legal torturers would be uniquely suitable…