Pubdate: Fri, 08 Nov 2013
Source: Bangor Daily News (ME)
Copyright: 2013 Bangor Daily News Inc.
Author: Beth Brogan, BDN Staff


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 of up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana said 
they expect police to yield to the will of the people.

On Tuesday, 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 led the campaign 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 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 states.

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