AUGUSTA–(ENEWSPF)–March 27, 2013. A bipartisan group of 35 state lawmakers are listed as co-sponsors of a bill filed Tuesday to regulate marijuana like alcohol in Maine. LD 1229, the “Act to Tax and Regulate Marijuana,” was referred to the Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety, chaired by bill co-sponsor Sen. Stan Gerzofsky (D-Cumberland). View the full list of co-sponsors at http://bit.ly/ZWXABz.
“Support for changing our marijuana laws is growing as more and more elected officials realize it makes no sense to maintain a system of prohibition for a substance that is objectively less harmful than alcohol,” said David Boyer, Maine political director for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Maine can and should take a more sensible approach to marijuana policy, and we are glad to see so many legislators agree.”
LD 1229 would make the private possession and home growing of limited amounts of marijuana legal for adults 21 and older. It would direct the Department of Administrative and Financial Services to license and regulate marijuana retail stores, cultivation facilities, product manufacturing facilities, and testing facilities, and it would enact an excise tax of $50 per ounce on wholesale sales. The bill would also allow the state to begin regulating the cultivation, processing, and distribution of industrial hemp.
“By regulating marijuana like alcohol we can take sales out of the underground market, generate millions of dollars in new tax revenue, and allow law enforcement to focus on serious crimes,” Boyer said. “Marijuana is far safer than alcohol for consumers and the community, and it is time for our state to start treating it that way.”
If state lawmakers approve the bill this session, it will be referred to voters in the upcoming November election. If the measure gets carried over and approved during the next legislative session, it will be placed on the November 2014 ballot.