News & Politics

Election Victory—Recreational Pot Use Legalized In Portland, Maine & 3 Michigan Cities

Portland makes history as the first east coast city to legalize recreational pot.

In a landslide victory for legalizing marijuana, voters in Portland, Maine and three cities in Michigan have shown their overwhelming support for legalizing marijuana use.  

The measure was passed in Portland, Maine's largest city, with 67 percent of residents voting to legalize possession of marijuana for recreational use for those aged 21 years and over, Boston Herald reported.

While medical marijuana has been legal in Maine since 1999, the ordinance allows residents to now possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana.  However, the new measure does not permit the recreational purchase or sale of marijuana nor its use in public places.  Moreover, it will not override state or federal laws where it is still illegal.

Nonetheless, supporters hope the new passage will spur further efforts to decriminalize recreational marijuana in the state as occurred in Washington and Colorado in November 2012.  

"Most Portlanders, like most Americans, are fed up with our nation's failed marijuana prohibition laws.  We applaud Portland voters for adopting a smarter marijuana policy, and we look forward to working with city officials to ensure it is implemented,” David Boyer, Maine political director of the Marijuana Policy Project, a marijuana advocacy group, said in a press release. 

The organization says Maine is one of 10 states it has identified where it intends to support statewide legalization efforts over the coming years, with currently 19 states having legalized medical marijuana.

Meanwhile, more success for pro-legalization forces came on election night in three cities in Michigan which voted on marijuana reform, with Ferndale, Jackson and Lansing all approving measures to legalize recreational marijuana, reported

Like Maine, Michigian pot users will still face risks because the state law bars marijuana use and possession unless it's medical marijuana.

Public support for legalization has more than doubled in the United States since the '70s with the latest Gallup poll revealing that for the first time, a clear majority of Americans (58%) favor legalizing the drug.

Jodie Gummow is a senior fellow and staff writer at AlterNet.


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Election 2018