Maine Marijuana Legalization Bill Could Go To Voters


Rep. Diane Russell

5/11/2011 UPDATE 4:59PM ET – A landmark hearing yesterday in Maine before the Criminal Justice Committee on a bill to tax and regulate recreational marijuana had an interesting outcome: The issue could eventually be decided by Maine residents.  If LD 1453 does pass floor votes in the legislature the bill must also pass a voter referendum to become a  law.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Diane Russell of Portland, made the referendum motion and was pleased with the hearings. She has reported a massive surge of public support for Maine’s legalization effort. The media and bloggers have also been focused on the bill, bringing in attention from around the country. For example, the hearing on LD 1453 is the top story right now at

Rep. Russell said in an email to today, “I had no idea this would make it to the front page of Reddit literally overnight. The response has been astounding and there have been a remarkable number of interesting and good questions. Not to mention, a ton of support!”

Maine could join California and Colorado as states that are looking to end marijuana prohibition by the end of 2012 with direct participation by voters. All three would create systems of regulated cultivation, sales to adults and taxation systems.

[Editor’s Note – Original post at 4:28PM ET mis-stated that LD 1453 would go  directly to the voter referendum process.]

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Chris Goldstein is a respected marijuana reform advocate. As a writer and radio broadcaster he has been covering cannabis news for over a decade. He volunteers with local groups to change prohibition laws including PhillyNORML and The Coalition for Medical Marijuana New Jersey.

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