PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Supporters of a referendum question before voters in November that would legalize recreational use of marijuana in Portland officially launched their campaign Thursday.
In a news conference at Portland City Hall, supporters said it would improve public safety. They also said it would help lower incarceration rates and protect patients who rely on marijuana for medical care.
The ACLU of Maine, Green Independent Committee, and Medical Marijuana Cargegivers of Maine all participated in the official campaign launch Thursday morning.
ACLU of Maine Executive Director Shenna Bellows said the organization has the goal of legalizing marijuana statewide.
"We think the outcome will be reducing Maine's prison and jail population and that will have benefits to our community integrity, economy, our health, and our public safety," Bellows said.
The measure would legalize possession and private use of up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana but using it in public would still be illegal.
Portland Police Chief Michael Sauschuck said even if the referendum passed, it wouldn't change anything because it would still run in conflict with state and federal law and police officers could still prosecute cases as they do now.
"It doesn't change anything in the eyes of the state and the federal government," Sauschuck said. "That's our legal interpretation of the referendum as we've seen the language as it currently stands."
The referendum question goes before Portland voters on November 5th.