Signatures collected for marijuana vote in South Portland

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The push to legalize marijuana in more Maine communities continues. Volunteers have collected more than enough signatures to put marijuana legalization on the November ballot in South Portland.

The group dropped off those signatures at City Hall on Monday.

The signatures are part of a petition that Citizens for a Safer Maine and the Marijuana Policy Project hope will get the city of South Portland talking once more about the legalization of marijuana.

Portland recently legalized marijuana in the city, now these two groups are hoping voters in York, South Portland, and Lewiston can decide on the issue in November. The amount of marijuana allowed in adult possession in these three votes would be 1 ounce, a smaller portion than is allowed currently in Portland.

In about a month, volunteers were able to collect 1,521 signatures for the petition, exceeding the required 959.

On Monday those volunteers stood with U.S. Senate candidate Shenna Bellows and the Maine Political Director of the Marijuana Policy Project, David Boyer, to hand those signatures in.

The hope is that the council will take up the issue in an August 4th city council meeting and pass the vote on to the residents of South Portland.

South Portland's City Hall has 20 days to validate the signatures. In the meantime, the Marijuana Policy Project is moving on to Lewiston to collect signatures and get the issue on the November ballot there.

Smart Approaches to Marijuana Maine sent a statement in response, saying: "SAM Maine stands with the citizens of South Portland who have serious concerns about legalizing marijuana. We stand with Chief Googins, Mayor Jalbert, and the South Portland City Council who unanimously are opposed to legalizing marijuana in South Portland. They know the serious risks it poses to youth, public health, and the economy. We still need to contend with the public health issues posed by alcohol and tobacco. Legal drugs that have many more youth users compared to illicit marijuana. Now is not the time to add to the problems."


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