Yesterday Maine State Representative Diane Russell held a press conference to officially announce her new proposal to legalize cannabis, which she will be pushing in the 2014 legislative session which begins in January – the state’s Legislative Council will decide tomorrow whether or not the proposal should be taken up as an “emergency bill”, which would allow it to pass into law at a much quicker pace.
This new proposal will be similar to measures Russell filed in 2011, and again this year, which would have legalize cannabis use, possession and state-licensed retail outlets, in addition to allowing adults to grow a small amount of their own cannabis. The proposal would impose a 10% sales tax and 15% excise tax on cannabis, similar to Colorado, with the revenue going towards public school construction, addiction treatment and the prevention of underage sales and usage, among other programs.
During the press conference Russell announced a new group supporting her proposal, called A Maine Approach Coalition.
If lawmakers don’t act this session on legalizing cannabis, activists are already planning a statewide ballot initiative to do just that.