By Rep. Mark Dion
Here in Maine, competing ballot initiatives will bring the question of marijuana legalization to a confusing vote in November of 2016. While both initiatives contain positive and negative elements, there are compelling, common-sense reasons to submit the issue first to the Legislature and then to voters in 2015, rather than waiting for 2016. My decision to sponsor, “An Act to Allow for and Regulate the Adult Use of Cannabis,” is based on common sense and a conservative approach to the system that is already working in Maine.
My bill allows for extensive, transparent citizen input via the legislative process with public hearings and work sessions, and requires a citizens’ vote in November of 2015, while avoiding the problems, confusion, and delays which would accompany competing ballot measures in 2016.
Four states and the District of Columbia have moved forward on this issue. They are reaping tax benefits, enjoying increased job creation, and seeing a decline in teen marijuana use, drug related crime, and traffic fatalities. Mainers should not have to wait another two years to reap similar benefits.
JOBS, TAXES, THE ECONOMY
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