Pubdate: Tue, 12 Nov 2013
Source: Forecaster, The (Falmouth, ME)
Contact:  2013 Sun Media Group
Author: Beth Brogan, Bangor Daily News


Portland, Maine - Two days after Portland police said they would "use 
their discretion" to enforce state law regarding possession of 
marijuana, the group that spearheaded passage of a new city ordinance 
legalizing recreational use said they expect police to yield to the 
will of the people.

On Election Day, more than 67 percent of Portland voters approved of 
a new city ordinance to legalize possession of up to 2.5 ounces of 
marijuana in the city. The law will become effective on Dec. 6, 30 
days after the vote.

Recreational use of the drug remains illegal under federal and state 
laws, which Portland Police Chief Michael Sauschuck said "pre-empt 
local ordinances."

In a statement Friday, Tom MacMillan, chairman of the Portland Green 
Independent Committee, which campaigned for the ordinance, said, "The 
vote on Tuesday was a clear indication that Portland residents want 
our police force to stop punishing adult marijuana users. The police 
have the discretion to do so while still enforcing city, state and 
federal rules for public use, use under 21 and possession over 2.5 
ounces. Portland officials must be accountable to the will of the people."

"It is very encouraging that marijuana possession citations have 
decreased by 26 percent over a period of a year," City Councilor 
David Marshall said in the release. "The voters expect the public and 
the police to comply with the ordinance when it goes into effect. The 
election results are a mandate that supports the discretion police 
are using in regards to adult marijuana possession."

According to a fact sheet posted last Friday on the city's website, 
the new ordinance will not affect the Police Department's enforcement 
of state law.

"Officers will continue to use their discretion and judgment in a 
manner that will ensure that their enforcement authority is exercised 
in a fair and judicious manner," the document said.

MacMillan said leaders of the Green Independent Committee would meet 
soon with local officials to discuss enforcement and education.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom