By Rep. Mark Dion (D-Portland) and Rep. Kevin J. Battle (R-South Portland)
As two former police officers with 59 years of collective law enforcement experience, we believe LD1401 is the only way to safely and effectively legalize marijuana in Maine in 2015. There’s no reason to wait until 2016, marijuana legalization is coming – we should make sure we do it in a safe, regulated and taxed environment. A recent poll found that 65 percent of Maine voters believe that adult-use marijuana should be legal if it is strictly controlled and regulated in a manner similar to alcohol – that’s what our bill intends to do. The bill would:
- Create Jobs: LD1401 creates up to 1,000 jobs at dispensaries, cultivation facilities, production facilities, testing labs and ancillary businesses.
- Increase Public Safety: This bill would dedicate a portion of the projected state revenue ($26.7 million annually) to improve public safety, as well as education and prevention programs aimed at youth.
- Prioritize Crime: Maine’s real drug problem isn’t marijuana. By legalizing this medicinal plant, officers will finally be able to focus on the state’s real criminals.
- Expand Access: If this bill passes, Mainers over age 21 will be able to access the medicinal benefits of marijuana for debilitating health conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, Tourette syndrome and OCD.
- Start Slow: Legalizing marijuana doesn’t have to mean pot shops on every corner. LD1401 would make sure to start slow, with only 20 retail shops permitted in the state in the first years. Other legalization bills before the legislature would allow up to 500 retail locations.
Maine’s medical marijuana program has been ranked first in the nation. Let’s be realistic, tactful and effective with marijuana legalization and keep Maine in first place.
Rep. Mark Dion (D-Portland) is primary sponsor of this bill. He is in his third term in the Maine House of Representatives. Rep. Dion has 32 years of law enforcement experience, is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law and is practicing law at his own firm in Portland.
Rep. Kevin J. Battle (R-South Portland) is serving his first term in the Maine House of Representatives. Rep. Battle brings a distinguished background of military service and is a 27-year law enforcement veteran.