Maine Becomes the 8th State to Legalize Recreational Marijuana
Voters in Maine have approved a ballot initiative to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana for adult use. California, Massachusetts, and Nevada approved similar measures earlier in the evening, and one is trailing 48-52 in Arizona with many ballots still to be counted.
Initiatives legalizing medical marijuana were approved in Florida, North Dakota, and Arkansas, and a measure that would expand upon Montana’s existing medical marijuana law is currently leading 56-44.
Today (Wednesday) at 12 p.m., Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), a leading advocate for changes to federal drug laws, will join the Marijuana Policy Project for a national media teleconference to discuss the outcome of the election and to answer questions about what to expect next at the federal and state levels. RSVP to [email protected] to receive instructions for participating in the teleconference.
Heading into the election, four states — Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington — had adopted laws that legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana for adult use, and 25 states had adopted comprehensive medical marijuana laws.
“Maine made history today by ending the failed policy of marijuana prohibition. Voters approved Question 1 because it represents a new, more sensible approach to marijuana policy. It will take marijuana production and sales out of the underground market. It will generate significant new tax revenue for our community. And it will allow law enforcement to spend more time addressing serious crimes.
“For the past few years, we have highlighted the fact that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol and questioned the logic of laws that steer adults toward the more dangerous substance. Once Question 1 goes into effect, adults in Maine will no longer be punished for making the rational, safer choice to use marijuana instead of alcohol, if that is what they prefer. Our state’s laws are finally going to be based on the facts, rather than on the fear mongering and propaganda that produced marijuana prohibition.”
“We are proud of the voters of Maine and all the citizens, elected officials, organizations, and businesses that came together to bring about this victory. We look forward to working together with our supporters and our opponents to ensure Question 1 is implemented properly and on time. We are confident that Maine can establish a system that will serve as an example for other states in New England and across the nation.”
“This is the most momentous Election Day in history for the movement to end marijuana prohibition. From Los Angeles to Boston, voters are casting their ballots in favor of sensible marijuana policy reforms. Today’s results are right in line with national polls showing record-high support for making marijuana legal.
“These votes send a clear message to federal officials that it’s time to stop arresting and incarcerating marijuana users. Congress must take action to ease the tension between state and federal marijuana laws. Once this new batch of state laws takes effect over the next couple of months, marijuana will be legal in more than half a dozen states, and we expect several more to follow during the 2017-2018 legislative and election cycles. The end of prohibition is near, and it would be a mistake for the federal government to continue waging war on its own nonviolent citizens. How do you ask a DEA agent to be the last man to enforce a mistake?
“Most voters do not think otherwise law-abiding citizens should be criminalized for using a product that is much safer than alcohol. They want marijuana to be sold inside regulated, taxpaying businesses, not on the streets, where sales enrich cartels and drug dealers. There is a general consensus that law enforcement should be fighting serious crimes rather than enforcing failed and deeply unpopular policies.”
WHAT: National media teleconference to discuss the results of the marijuana policy ballot initiatives and what to expect next at the federal and state levels
WHEN: TODAY, Wednesday, November 9, 12 p.m. ET
WHERE: RSVP to [email protected]; call-in instructions will be provided approximately one hour prior to the teleconference
WHO: Congressman Earl Blumenauer, Rob Kampia, Executive Director, Marijuana Policy Project, Mason Tvert, Director of Communications, Marijuana Policy Project