Supporters for recreational marijuana use turn focus to Lewiston

Posted June 07, 2014, at 6:41 a.m.
Last modified June 09, 2014, at 2:37 p.m.

LEWISTON, Maine — Organizers hoping to make recreational marijuana use legal in Maine’s second-largest city will launch their citywide signature gathering campaign Monday, David Boyer, the state political director for the Marijuana Policy Project, said Friday.

Lewiston City Clerk Kathy Montejo said the group turned in its initial petition request with the signatures of 10 registered voters on it earlier in the week.

Those 10 signatures will lead to the issuance of a petition that would require 859 signatures registered voters in Lewiston to put the issue before the city’s voters in November. Under the city’s charter, organizers would have 60 calendar days to collect the signatures needed, according to Montejo.

The petition would seek to make possession of up to one ounce of marijuana legal for recreational use under the city’s ordinances.

State law would supersede any city ordinance, according to Lewiston officials and Mayor Robert Macdonald, who has said he opposes legalizing marijuana for recreational use.

Portland voters approved a similar ordinance in 2013. The Marijuana Policy Project also aims to place the legalization question before voters in South Portland later this year.

The push to pass ordinances in the state’s larger cities is a part of bigger effort that could culminate with a statewide ballot initiative. Boyer and advocates for legalized marijuana have said they are hoping the Legislature would make the decision ahead of a citizen vote; but if it fails, they will push for a statewide referendum in 2016.

Boyer said Friday his group will launch its signature-gathering efforts Monday with a news conference in Lewiston and intends to collect signatures from Lewiston residents voting in primary and joint charter commission elections Tuesday.

 

CORRECTION:

An earlier version of this report incorrectly stated that the petition seeks to make it legal for possession of up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana. The proposal calls for legalization of up to one ounce of marijuana.

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