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Legalization Finally Wins in Maine

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A misinformation campaign in Maine led by the state’s Trump-supporting governor couldn’t, in the end, keep a marijuana legalization law from being approved by voters.
The Associated Press tweeted early this afternoon that the measure in the end passed by a fraction of a percentage point.
Question 1 allows recreational cannabis possession, cultivation, and sales for adults 21 and over.
Question 1 would legalize the possession of up to 2 1/2 ounces of cannabis for adults 21 and over, who can also grow up to six plants in their homes.

Maine’s Bangor Daily News says that opponents may request a recount.

Cannabis cultivation and sales will be regulated by the state’s Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry. Retail dispensaries are allowed, as are marijuana social clubs, provided they are licensed and permitted by the locality in which they plant to operate. Sales of recreational cannabis are subject to a 10 percent tax.

Marijuana use is prohibited in public, with smoking outside of a home or other permitted area punishable by a $100 fine.

Though the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol effort benefited from more than $3.2 million from national drug reform groups, outspending a poorly-funded, out-of-state opposition campaign by a margin of nearly 15-to-1, support for the measure hovered right around 50 percent in the days leading up to the election.

Question 1 received endorsements from the state’s major newspapers, including the Portland Press Herald, and celebrity endorsers like travel writer Rick Steves, who contributed to the campaign to pass the measure. The former sheriff of Cumberland County, the state’s most-populous area, also endorsed the measure.

Reactionary folks like Maine’s pro-Trump Gov. Paul LePage did everything they could to upend the measure. LePage went as far as to record a falsehood-filled video in which he claimed that cannabis legalization could be “deadly” for Maine (which just so happens to be one of the many states ravaged by the country’s ongoing prescription opiate epidemic.) The measure was also opposed by a broad coalition of health and law enforcement groups, including the state’s attorney general.

Maine was one of the first several states to follow California’s lead, legalizing medical marijuana in 1999, though it took more than a decade for the state to allow permitted medical cannabis dispensaries.

According to a state estimate, tax revenue from the sales of legal weed in Maine could reach as high as $10 million.

See all the results from Election 2016 here.

And for all the latest legalization news, click here.

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