Portland Lawmaker Deciding Vote in Defeating Maine Legalization Bill

This morning, the Maine Legislative Council voted 5-5 on whether or not to allow Rep. Diane Russell’s marijuana legalization to be introduced.

A tie vote means the motion has failed and the legislation will NOT be introduced this session. Included in the ranks of those voting “No” was Senate President Justin Alfond, who represents Portland…a city that just overwhelmingly voted to legalize marijuana.

Mainers, please take a moment of your time today to contact your lawmakers at the phone numbers below and tell them:

“I am extremely disappointed with the Legislative Council’s vote this morning on Rep. Diane Russell’s marijuana regulation bill. This issue isn’t just important to Rep. Russell, but to all of us who live in the state. This legislation would have fostered an important discussion on marijuana legalization and laid out a framework for regulation that benefited the people of Maine. The vote this morning is a disservice to the state and the residents these officials are supposed to be representing.”

Please call: Maine Senate President Justin Alfond: (207) 287-1500 and Maine Speaker of the House: (207) 287-1300 to voice your concerns.

The bill would have allowed anyone over the age of 21 to possess up to 2 1/2 ounces of marijuana, cultivate up to 6 plants, and purchase marijuana from established retail outlets. It also contained key provisions in place that ensure individuals with several years residency in Maine and experience as a current medical marijuana dispensaries or caregiver are given priority on business licenses, explicitly leaves the current medical marijuana law in place for patients, and directs tax revenue to help low income patients be able to afford their medicine.

50 thoughts

  1. This is so sad. I cannot believe that a lawmaker from the very city that just voted so overwhelmingly in support could be so detached from what people really want.

  2. This is the second time that legalization has been thwarted in Maine. I hope I’m wrong, but I seriously think that legalization advocates are grossly underestimating the stranglehold that prohibition has on our society. Prohibition is so pervasive that even some marijuana advocates have come out against legalization. Sorry Maine, you lose!

  3. This is another example of politicians on both sides of the political fence having a mindset that marijuana=drug=crime. Following this up is the belief that ramping up the drug war even more means they are tough on crime and more people will vote for them. We need to remind the lawmakers that the public is on to the lies that the war on drugs is based on and that being a prohibitionist is going to cost them votes.


  5. Free people will continue to do what they do even in the face of those that would enslave them.

    To not do what you choose to do, to wait for somebody to make you free, means you are already enslaved.

  6. Obamas office said the DEA would not interfere with states decision on marijuana use. So why is this still an issue? It’s time for politicians to discuss legalization, regulation, and tax it. It would be so much better buying from a trusted legal business than my local drug dealer. I want to support America not Mexico.

  7. I got 1 word ” recall ” Justin Alfond !! Being he represents Portland , I thought it was “for the people by the people”, looks to me like he doesn’t care what the people think…

  8. How fitting. This past week was the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg address that stated hope that government for the people, by the people and of the people should not perish from this earth. Obviously, Senate Justin Alfond is in total disagreement with President Lincoln and the people of Maine. How pathetic for him and whoever owns him. He should be removed from his position post haste…

  9. I still don’t understand the disconnection. Why are our politicians so damn short sighted and simple minded?

  10. Maine needs to vote that jackass out of office. Seems like the will of the people Ian`being listened to.

  11. Well, what did I say? I think an investigation of those who voted “no” would be appropriate at this point, because I will wager there is money changing hands. The Drug War profiteers have failed and no longer have majority support, and now they are trying to buy our leaders’ votes to stop this issue from reaching the voters, just as I predicted. They know that if any more legalization bills are voted on, they will pass and the profiteers will lose money, so they are pouring money into preventing it from getting on the ballot at all.

    This needs to be a major issue. Our leaders have been purchased, and they must be voted out of office because they no longer represent the people. They are now bought-and-paid-for Drug War profiteer property and have no business pretending to serve the public. Every one of those who voted “no” needs to have their names known far and wide for this. Every single voter needs to know who is representing them and who is representing the Drug War profiteering companies, and any politician who votes “no” is unfit for any sort of public service. Any politician who fails to support the majority in legalizing marijuana is not fit to serve as dog catcher, much less in a legislative capacity, and we need to make sure and send this message by voting accordingly.

    @Blank: She’s probably got a nice kickback from Drug War profiteering companies, that’s what. Just like that douche mayor of Denver who wants to re-criminalize marijuana against the overwhelming majority will of the city and the state. The Drug War profiteers no longer have our support, so they are going to buy our leaders and force their failed yet profitable (for them only) war to continue as long as they can get away with this sort of criminal behavior. How long are we going to stand for this?

  12. BTW, what is the next course of action, NORML. You said you were pretty sure to be able to get this on the ballot for 2014. Is there even a chance at this point?

  13. Portland… please… You can do better than someone who thinks he’s holier than thou. The opinion of the “peasants” dont matter to him, he’s above all that. Send this guy a 1 way ticket to the unemployment office ASAP!

  14. I give Justin Alfond well deserved salute for his vote!!!

    NOTE: Middle finger only

    Please throw this ignorant fool out.

  15. You know its so funny that he did that . He is thinking 1 of 2 logical things. 1. That he will make more money if only his city supports recreational Marijuana and others don’t. It will in turn bring people to Portland from other parts of Maine and other states. If the entire state was recreational friendly it doesn’t give Portland its edge 2. If he votes “No” it may rattle the chain of other cities in Maine that they want to get in on the cash crop. If hes making a lot of money in Portland because they are pro recreational use and other cities see this they will no doubt vote ” yes ” the next election. Could be some classic reverse physcology.

    Either way , the guy who passed weed in his city denied weed for his state . Ulterior motives anybody?

  16. He is thinking 1 of 2 logical things. 1. That he will make more money if only his city supports recreational Marijuana and others don’t. It will in turn bring people to Portland from other parts of Maine and other states. If the entire state was recreational friendly it doesn’t give Portland its edge 2. If he votes “No” it may rattle the chain of other cities in Maine that they want to get in on the cash crop. If hes making a lot of money in Portland because they are pro recreational use and other cities see this they will no doubt vote ” yes ” the next election. Could be some classic reverse physcology.

    Either way , the guy who passed weed in his city denied weed for his state . Ulterior motives anybody?

  17. Demonhype,

    Please don’t refer to prohibitionists as “our leaders”. Thanks. Free and peaceful people lead themselves, and don’t use force to lead others.

  18. @Bob Constantine: Point taken. I was pretty mad and at a loss for the right word. Mainly, I just called them “leaders” because they have been elected into a leadership position and that’s the first word that came to mind as a result, but you are correct, they are not really “leaders” by any meaningful definition of the word, they are only purchased tools. Perhaps “legislators” would be a better term. Or “regrettably elected officials who are not fit for office who need to be elected out of office the next chance we get”.

  19. @Dave Evans: Because the Drug War profiteers have a lot of money and have spent the last forty years demonizing our side while simultaneously spreading money around the political circles. They are not short-sighted, they are purchased tools of the Drug War profiteers and are legislating according to their True Masters’ intentions, and the only way we’re going to win is to make sure there are serious career consequences that make it not worth it to them to take the payout from the Drug War profiteers. We need to make prohibition support bad for their employment health.

  20. Kudos to Rep. Diane Russell and the four that voted for her bill. She and them may be the ones to contact showing your support for legalization.
    They may also be able to start a recall procedure.

  21. I find it so strange that Justin Alfond voted against this. First, he is or used to be a huge pot smoker. In fact, I have smoked with him personally. Further, most of his relative’s are huge stoners. I’m talking every day smoker’s, all day long. So, all this could mean is that he is on the take. So, the only thing we can do is vote this hypocrite out of office!!

  22. Demonhype, whoring yourself out isn’t a bit “short sighted”? Really?? I realize it is “profitable”, but a good idea?

    I’m not saying whores belong in jail, but they shouldn’t be writing our laws either. You got to retire from that shit first and reform yourself.

    Look at that goon, Anthony Weiner. He can’t control himself, but he is obsessed with being in the government and inflicting his issues on us. It is like the second coming of Jim McGreevy… How much weirder does it have to get before he has to retire? Or was someone paying him to run just to keep people from paying attention to important issues? I’d probably prefer a retired prostitute to either of those clowns, but I still would not vote for any of ’em.

  23. @Dave Evans: Of course whoring yourself out is a big short-sighted too. But what I’m saying is that they don’t care right now, because supporting prohibition and the failed Drug War comes with huge payoffs and very little in the way of punishment, and as long as they can keep it going they can continue to reap the kickbacks from the Drug War profiteers–and even if some of them know perfectly well that legalization is inevitable and prohibition and the Drug War are coming to an end, I think even those politicians are at least hoping to squeeze out every last dime they can before the money train squeaks to a halt.

    What I’m saying is that IMO, they know perfectly well what is happening, they know perfectly well that they are fighting an ultimately lost cause, but they don’t care because they are receiving a low-risk, high-yield payoff and they are counting on the short memory of the American public to cover their asses when they are finally forced to support legalization and pretend that was their stance the whole time, in the hopes that we won’t remember how they stonewalled the legalization effort for so long. They know prohibition is a lost cause, but they are going to stick to their guns until the last moment, especially if the money continues to flow and there are no negative consequences associated with it.

    And, of course, if they can keep legalization from the voting public and from the ballot box, they can keep the payoff going forever. Which is why we need to make sure that, even if we don’t have the millions that the Drug War profiteers have to pay for their votes, even if the Drug War profiteers can pay to keep legalization off the ballot so we can never vote our will on the issue, we can still vote for or against the politicians themselves based on this. They may be able to take away our ability to vote our will on this issue, but they haven’t yet taken our right to vote, after all. And I don’t think they’ve really thought this through, or realized how big an issue this is or that voting against legalization could actually get them voted out of office. We need to make it clear that their employment health depends on supporting legalization.

    Because, as you say, whores have no business writing our laws. Although I scorn to call them whores, since prostitution is more of a business deal where a service is performed for a price. What these people are doing is to take a payout to provide a service explicitly designed to deprive the rest of us of our civil rights, which is far more dishonest than simple prostitution. There’s a basic honesty to a prostitute that these politicians simply do not have. They are not whores, they are tools, and tools have no business writing our laws.

  24. Exactly, I have more respect for prostitution in general than how some politicians just use bait and switch as their running platforms. They are more like the girls that lures you in somewhere, and then you get jumped by her buddies, her partners in crime. No sex, no money, a couple broken ribs, but you definitely got fucked (over).

  25. Changes have been made to the LR: 2329 since the 11/21/13 Vote.

    By working together, feedback, suggestions and education, this bill will be even stronger when it comes back to the Legislative Council.

    We all need to get back to the same table:

    State and House Reps.

    We can and will overcome this, by working ” Together”.

    Please feel free to view LR: 2329 and provide any feed back and suggestions to this bill.


    If you live in Maine, please help our State and get others involved.

  26. There’s no way to get it on the ballot at this point in 2014, and yes I am frustrated as well. But, we all will use this in our favor and will continue to work with and educate others who are against this and NEVER give up. We need the support of EVERYONE we can. Tell others, get them involved, educate them and let’s send a strong message that ” We The People ” Want this passed! We have posted the New drafted bill for all to see, including the Maine Legislative Council for feed back and comments in efforts to work with them and other groups / members who are against this for their own reasons, and overcome them. Please share the info. here on NORML.org and the newly drafted bill posted on our: http://yesmaine.org/lr2329 .

    It’s not over. And we certainly are not done by Any means…

  27. Seems like a reasonable, all bases covered bill. However, would home growers be required to allow LEO on their property without a warrant to check the tax ties?
    This would open up the possibilities of further unrelated charges if they happen to see something that is against one of their thousands of obscure laws. Small town LEOs and vendetta are words that come to mind.

  28. Hello Michael, just wanted to my negative comments are not direct at you. You’re, thankfully, interested in making the future better.

    People, especially law enforcement, act like marijuana is some exotic, toxic material like a piece of Uranium. That simply having it on your person or in the house is somehow causing damage, as though marijuana gives off radiation or something… This is a bizarre and learned reaction, nothing remotely natural about this “fear” or “hate” reaction to marijuana. Then this fear gives them permission to abuse people in the name of authority. This repeating pattern of abuse needs to end. I really don’t want to hear about how Law Enforcement folks just want to continue hurting the country just so they can feel better about themselves. How this came to be a goal, I’ll never understand. Law Enforcement first job is protecting the innocent, second prosecuting crimes they witness or investigate. Yet, something like 95% of people arrested for marijuana haven’t done anything wrong. I really don’t think the police should have anything to do with marijuana because they aren’t objective in the slightest. It is and always has been a tool for them to harass and arrest innocent people.

  29. Our government is ignoring us and out of control. It is about time for large protests and riots so they can once again fear the wrath of the people. Peaceful protests standing behind the barricades they set only go so far. There was once a time when politicians feared to go against the will of the people because they would rise up. We are in desperate need of that again no matter if you agree with cannabis or not it should concern you that our government can just ignore us and do what they want. We need hundreds or thousands of people to block the entrances to their government buildings and even the drive ways to their houses. If they are not going to work for us do not let them work for anyone.

  30. @TommyD

    That’s a fair question. The twist ties would be sold relatively anonymously so there would be no list for law enforcement to check.

    I’ll check to see if there’s some additional language. We put in the bill something to the effect that “marijuana smell” could not be considered probable cause. It’s a great question, though. My hope was that if law enforcement came to the home for other reasons, that this would give them the protections they need to ensure that everyone knows this is legit marijuana. But I hadn’t considered the entry. Let me ask around on that and see if I can get an answer, or if there’s a way to strengthen it.

    It is comments and feed back like yours that helps strength us and the bill, Thank you !

    @Dave Evans

    I agree. The ” reefer madness ” era really mad things hard for us, overcoming these lies and backing them up with proven facts is happening and needs to continue.

    I met with a Local state rep. former Dr. who stated she was against this bill for two reasons:

    1. The smoke is Toxic
    2. The message it will send to our teens

    ( Smoke toxic? )

    After some proven facts and case studies,
    ( some posted on our – http://yesmaine.org – I really recommend the video on front page to all)

    She was a bit open minded and her and I are also following up with another DR. I am bringing to her table.

    As for ” The message it will send to our teens ” I share the same concerns as a father of three here in Maine.

    I am meeting with a group in Jan. who share the concerns and voice them after every press conference.

    Some ideas I have, ( will try to be brief here )

    Lower the job age requirement here in Maine to 13- 14 with similar conditions of allowed days/ hours and can only be in adult controlled environments (ie) Wal-marts, food stores etc. let’s give them something to do after school and weekends that they can be proud of and involved in. We allow them to get a drivers permit at 15, and our court system has no problems giving them hundreds of hours of community service, so why not?

    Start a program called NORML Teens

    A program for first offenders, that would allow the first offence to become expunged if they complete the nine month or so program that would not only educate them about medical marijuana, explain laws of the second offenses ( that we will attempt to avoid ) share their stories, but to also create a workshop for them to learn skills for a job working in the community as a group.

    Courts mandate domestic violence offenders to a batter type program, let’s mandate this for our first offender teens here in Maine.

    Proceeds would go towards the New upcoming NORML chapter we are about to start and any licensed counselor who will run the program as well.


    I would like to answer your comment if you agree to post it on our site: http://yesmaine.org/lr2329 as I feel I have gone way off topic already here.


    Please help support: http://yesmaine.org , add feedback, tell others, get involved.

    Interested in being a part of the upcoming Maine NORML? Please contact us here:

    Alone we can be strong, United we are UNSTOPPABLE!

    Thank you all for your time.

  31. Bet the politicians’ war chests received a handsome donation from the prohibitionists’ PAC. The gifts of land and money come later no doubt.

  32. Hello Michael, I suppose I can see the issue of “toxic smoke” being a reason for people to pause before supporting such a bill/law; aren’t they also concerned with how the current laws ignore our rights as humans? Not to mention, people that smoke marijuana also buy bongs and vaporizes and actually “smoke” their pot in a significantly “safer” manner than do cigarette/tobacco smokers.

    The worst way you can smoke pot is by rolling it into a tobacco leaf and turning it into a blunt. I’m not saying that should be illegal, but people should be educated enough to make good decisions toward taking care of their health. And our laws should support them when they do.

    Since having a bong is another charge though, people would prefer using paper or blunts and so the current law encouraging people to use marijuana in the most unhealthy ways. Exactly the opposite of what any doctor should be interested in. I believe this is also a good talking point. This is common sense, like explaining to children how to avoid sexually transmitted diseases; unless you want them to get sick and/or die.

  33. @ Mike,
    I prefer edibles so “toxic smoke” can be reduced or minimized, and our teens watch adults smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, take prescription drugs, and OTC medicine all the time. If given the right environment and understanding using MJ would be viewed no differently. It’s only because of prohibition that we view marijuana as some type of “Radioactive” demon drug.

    I’m a left leg hemipelvectomy cancer survivor who was able to get myself off of the opiate drugs that kill so many people, just by taking a couple of puffs a day. I stink like weed when I smoke but New York makes it illegal to obtain what I need in edible form unless you know someone, which I don’t. I’m a father of three hiding it from my kids because I’m embarrassed yet I used to pop pills in front of them like candy. How did that look?

    I know we are really off topic but I would love to meet some of these politicians and see someone s

  34. Sorry I’m typing on a kindle with fat fingers LOL. I was saying see someone like me who really benefits from marijuana’s effects. I’m surrounded by states that make mmj legal but can’t get a doctor to come out and tell me it’s ok. At Memorial Sloan Kettering the doctors are ok when I tell them I take it yet they can’t suggest I take it let alone prescribe it. Ask any cancer patient there and we all take it. So are we all criminals?

  35. Every one should understand; If voting changed laws, Washington would make it illegal. You have no voice. Look what the city council did in Springfield MO. Voters overwhelmingly (over 60%) passed a city intuitive to reduce penalties for position. City council members thru out the ballet’s and declared it wasn’t good for the city in there belief. So what to do.???

  36. These are great topics and concerns others need to hear and why it is so important to educate others.

    On a post we added:

    2. Lung Damage

    Myth: Cannabis is more damaging to the lungs than cigarettes

    Fact: First of all, people who smoke cannabis but not cigarettes tend to smoke far less frequently – thereby limiting their exposure to the dangers in the smoke. Furthermore, smokers of cannabis are not inhaling the many additives that go into commercial cigarettes to make them burn down faster or to stay alight. There has even been some evidence that marijuana smoke does not have the same effect on the bronchial tubes as cigarette smoke, so even heavy use may not lead to emphysema.

    @Ray I think anyone who is against the use for marijuana for medical or any reasons are the criminals. And many agree to it’s use, but it will take time for them to admit or announce this publicly ( at this time ), as they feel this will harm their reputation. The more polling, facts and others speaking out on this, will only show them and lawmakers, opposing this is what will actually harm their reputation as their are more Americans who are for this than they actually realize.

  37. @ Ray, only to simpletons. If crossing a line in the sand is a crime, well then I’m quite happy to be a criminal, but that just means the value of the word is being diluted to include non-criminal behavior. At this point, what do we call the police that can’t be bothered to follow the consitution? Criminals, right? Criminals arresting other “criminals” because the “laws” are really a “scam”.

  38. @Dave Evans- This is not by any means an attack or a criticism of your post, so please don’t take it as such. It’s also only peripherally on-topic, but I think it’s an important thing for everyone to be aware of if they’re not already: In your post on 27 Nov., you stated that the first duty of law enforcement was to protect the innocent. That would be nice, but no matter how many cars you see with “protect and serve” painted on them, the police have absolutely NO duty to protect ANYONE except in a couple of very specific circumstances. The Supreme Court ruled on this back in ’89. You can see why. If they did have that obligation, the cops would then be potentially liable for every crime that occurred that they weren’t around to stop. I won’t get into the exceptions or anything, just Google “no duty to protect” if you’re curious.
    To the board: Again, sorry for going somewhat OT, but I believe it’s critical to understand this abut cops. They only have to try to solve the crime. Legally, actually protecting yourself and your family is YOUR responsibility. Something to think about…. Anyway, back to cannabis!

  39. J A, like I have been saying for years; the judges in the country are basically nothing but asshole that just rubber stamp very broken law and bad idea that comes along.

    Yes, it is the police’s job to “Protect”, or they can all be released from their jobs as clearly we don’t need to pay Law Enforcement for Non-protection from criminals.

    Also, doing their jobs the correct way lowers their liabilities, it does not raise them. To make such an argument is daft. They can only protect you from things they know about. Which is why police must stop ciminal activity when they become aware of it–letting it continue endangers the safety of the public. They have to pull over speeders, they can’t not let them continue speeding while trialing behind the driver to as to wait for more violations to occur.

  40. Also, I’m pretty sure the not-so-supreme-court didn’t say it the police’s job to malign potheads. They can’t be bothered to “Protect”, but they are allowed to commit perjury every time they arrest a pothead.

    While this is our currect legal landscape, it isn’t remotely legal.

  41. @ Mike thanks for the link, I didn’t know about the compassionate care network, but I plan on contacting them in the morning. Also, thanks for sticking up for us, and keeping us informed.
    @ Dave and JA very good points, yea we got off topic but our day will come and we won’t be criminalized anymore.

  42. That is why the “Fast and Furious” program of putting illegal guns in the hands of cartel terroristas isn’t remotely legal. It endangered the public and law enforcement. If they, the DEA and others, would just follow the laws we wouldn’t even need NORML and the cartels would have been sidelined years ago.

  43. Just another sad example of elected officials not being held accountable for misrepresenting their constituents.

    It’s time they actually represent the people who put them in that office, and not his own personal interests – unless he knows something the rest of us do not, but that isn’t the case here.

  44. @ Michael Stanton,
    I agree with much of what you say; some interesting comments. I don’t totally agree with the idea of putting 13 and 14 year olds to work to give them self-esteem. First, I’d rather those jobs, even if they are part-time, go to adults, who usually need them much more. I think kids can have jobs–the usual kid jobs, but save the real employment opportunities for the adults. As for giving a kid self-esteem, I had a job at that age, did for two years, serving cokes, chips etc in a bingo hall for the American Legion. I wouldn’t say it especially gave me esteem more than it did a few dollars–and I mean few–in my pocket. But the economy was much stronger then, so I wasn’t really taking a job away from an adult; and we were paid pretty poorly, 5 dollars a shift (about 2-1/2 hours work). But esteem? I liked the free eats much better.

  45. Well, In my thoughts, the jobs would be in places of supervived adults, wal-marts, supermarkets as baggers, cart pushers etc. if an employer wants to fill the store for customer services this would be perfect. If you want someone with experience, supervise these teens and others then of course this would be an adult for that role. And since I saw this coming as well for 2014:


    It just seems to fit, since it is going to happen anyway here in Maine, so why not make it work the right way.

    ( Just my thoughts )

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