Portland pot petition drive falls short

Posted July 15, 2011, at 7:28 p.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — An effort to have residents vote on a proposal to make marijuana possession the Portland Police Department’s lowest enforcement priority has fallen short.

A group called Sensible Portland turned in 2,100 signatures to the city clerk’s office last week to put the question to voters in November.

But city officials said Friday that of the signatures that were turned in, only 1,407 were deemed valid, which is 93 signatures short of the 1,500 required to get the proposal on the ballot.

Organizers said they still can ask the City Council to put the measure on the ballot. Supporters said law enforcement resources are better spent on things other than arresting people over small amounts of pot.