Maine Legalization Makes the Ballot

Maine Legalization

AUGUSTA, Maine (MPP) — State officials announced Wednesday that a proposed initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Maine has officially qualified for the November ballot. After a court-ordered review of petitions it had previously invalidated, the Maine Secretary of State’s Office determined the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol submitted more than the 61,123 signatures that were needed to qualify. Last month, the secretary of state informed the campaign that the initiative had been disqualified because only 51,543 valid signatures had been submitted. The campaign filed a lawsuit challenging the decision, and a Kennebec County Superior Court judge ruled in their favor earlier this month after learning state officials invalidated more than 5,000 petitions —which included more than 17,000 signatures from Maine voters that were validated by town clerks — without actually reviewing every petition in question. The petition was then remanded to the Secretary of State’s Office to review all of the disputed petitions and determine whether enough valid signatures were collected. According to a new poll released this week by the Maine People’s Resource Center, nearly 54% of likely voters would approve the initiative if the election were held today. Only about 42% said they would oppose it.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – Alaska will soon become the first state in the nation to allow customers to smoke pot and consume marijuana edibles at authorized retail stores. But rules governing this are still being hammered out, with state regulators set to consider regulations near the end of Wednesday’s meeting of the Marijuana Control Board in Anchorage. Any recommendations would be subject to public comment. Among the items regulators will consider Wednesday will be deciding how to separate smoking area in stores from the sales side. And then there’s the question of what happens to the pot you buy to smoke or eat on the premises but don’t finish. No licenses have been issued yet for retail marijuana shops.

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (CRN) – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has approved a petition to legalize marijuana in the Natural State. The Arkansas Cannabis Amendment would create unlimited $30 state licenses for any adult 21 and older to cultivate, produce, distribute, and sell marijuana and marijuana products. All cannabis plants would be tagged by the state at a cost of $6 per tag, limited to 36 tags per license per year. The amendment would also establish medical marijuana available to all patient of any age, free from the 5 percent excise tax that will be applied to adult-use marijuana. The amendment also calls for the release of all non-violent marijuana offenders and expungement of their records. Activists have until July 8 to submit 84,859 valid signatures and in at least fifteen of Arkansas’ 75 counties, supporters must gather signatures matching at least five percent of the votes cast in the previous gubernatorial election.

SACRAMENTO, California (CRN) – A California Democrat is pushing a bill that would extend a 2011 law to allow landlords to ban cannabis smoking, including medical marijuana, in their rentals. Jim Wood, an Assemblyman from Healdsburg, proposed Assembly Bill 2300 in response to what he believes is the danger of secondhand cannabis smoke. “Secondhand smoke, regardless of whether it’s smoke from tobacco or marijuana, is especially problematic in multi-unit apartments and condos because the smoke easily travels the windows, doors and other ventilation systems,” Wood said. “It’s a nuisance that tenants should not have to live with.” Wood pointed to recent research at UC San Francisco claiming that secondhand cannabis smoke is as damaging to the cardiovascular system as secondhand tobacco smoke. The Assembly Judiciary Committee passed AB 2300 unanimously and it now awaits a reading before the full Assembly.

LANSING, Michigan (AP) — The Michigan House moved Tuesday to get a recommendation on setting a legal limit for driving under the influence of marijuana. Legislation approved 107-1 and sent to the Senate would create a state commission to study and recommend a threshold of THC bodily content that would constitute evidence of impaired driving. THC is the component of marijuana responsible for most of the drug’s effects. Unlike other Schedule 1 drugs, THC can be detected in the body long after its effects have dissipated. Michigan’s vehicle law prohibits driving with any detectible amount of a Schedule 1 substance in the body. But its 2008 voter-approved law legalizing marijuana use for medical purposes shields patients from prosecution as long as they are not “under the influence” of marijuana.