Beyond the “business as usual” political races most people follow — the biggest tonight being the ones in Virginia, New Jersey and New York City — another historic vote was held in Portland, Maine concerning the legalization of marijuana.
Well, the people have been heard—and overwhelmingly, I might add.
With about 70% of voters voting in favor of legalizing marijuana possession of up to 2.5 ounces for adults over 21, Portland, Maine becomes the first east coast city to legalize the substance for recreational use.
The new law doesn’t provide any details for allowing the legal sale of marijuana anywhere in the city, but proponents say that this represents the first step to full legalization and sale of pot not only in Portland, but eventually in the entire state of Maine as well.
Representative Diane Russell first proposed the bill, called “An Act to Tax and Regulate Marijuana.” Russell said:
“We already successfully regulate marijuana for medical use and, with tonight’s vote, it’s now clear Mainers are ready to move forward responsibly regulating all adult marijuana sales. We are calling on city officials to respect the will of the voters, and state leaders to get ahead of this issue with a Maine approach to taxing and regulating this commodity, much like we do alcohol. It’s time to stop rewarding drug cartels and start rewarding responsible business owners, while funding important state priorities with new tax revenue.”
This vote furthers a trend we’ve seen in states like Washington and Colorado which have already legalized the possession of marijuana. It seems, with this growing trend, that it’s only a matter of time before the prohibition of marijuana ends and it becomes a legally sold substance just like alcohol.
While marijuana is legal in some places — Portland, Maine now being one of them — it’s still illegal in most places for recreational use.
Though this vote doesn’t legalize it for the entire state, Denver, Colorado had a similar vote that passed before an eventual statewide election was held last year that legalized the substance all across the state. It goes without saying that Portland, Maine’s vote tonight will undoubtedly be a starting point for other east coast cities and states to move forward with the legalization of marijuana.
With this vote tonight I wouldn’t be shocked to see statewide legalization next November, with other states following suit as well. And much like legalizing same-sex marriage, once enough states move towards the legalization of marijuana, it’s just a matter of time before the federal ban against the substance is lifted.
Whether you’re for or against the legalization of marijuana, one fact seems certain—you better get ready for it. As cities and states continue to move forward on this issue, it’s only a matter of time before the regressive policies of the past century go completely up in smoke.