Maine Voters Say ‘Yes’ To Medical Marijuana Question

Maine voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly showed their support for the medical use of marijuana.
Sixty-one percent of Mainers voted “yes” to Initiative Question 2 which asked, “Do you want to allow patients with specific illnesses to grow and use small amounts of marijuana for treatment, as long as such use is approved by a doctor?” Patients who have been diagnosed by a physician as suffering from persistent nausea; vomiting; wasting syndrome or loss of appetite as a result of AIDS or chemotherapy for cancer; glaucoma; and seizures associated with chronic, debilitating disease, such as multiple sclerosis will be exempted from prosecution under state law.
“We think it’s clear Maine people have taken a stronger stand for a compassionate drug policy than has the federal government,” said Craig Brown, coordinator of Mainers for Medical Rights, who led the Question 2 campaign.
Patients will be required to either cultivate their medical marijuana or purchase it from the black market.
The new law which takes effect January 1, 1999, limits the amount a patient can possess to no more than 1 1/4 ounces of harvested marijuana or six marijuana plants, of which no more than three can be mature, flowering plants.
Maine now becomes the sixth state to legalize the medical use of marijuana by voter initiative, and the first state east of the Mississippi River. The other states are California, Arizona, Washington, Oregon and Alaska.
Voters in Nevada approved a medical use initiative in 1998, and as an amendment to the state constitution, vote again on the issue in 2000. Colorado voters will also be voting on an initiative in November of 2000, where it has already been qualified for the ballot.
District of Columbia voters approved medical marijuana in 1998, but Congress is considering a bill to override the results.
“The impressive victory in Maine demonstrates that strong support exists for the medical use of marijuana among the voters in all parts of the country, not just on the West Coast,” said Keith Stroup, NORML Executive Director. “Medical use has been approved by the voters in every state where it has appeared on the ballot.”
For more information, please contact Mainers for Medical Rights at (310) 394-2952 or Keith Stroup, NORML Executive Director at (202) 483-5500. To view the complete wording of the law, visit http://www.mainers.org/act.htm.