Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Cannabis foes concede in Maine; recount halted

Recount bid ends, clearing way for legal marijuana in Maine — Politics — Bangor Daily News — BDN Maine:

December 20, 2016 - "The campaign that opposed a referendum seeking to legalize marijuana for recreational use in Maine abandoned its recount effort Saturday afternoon, clearing the way for Maine to become the latest state to allow use of the drug for nonmedical purposes.

"The citizen-initiated legalization effort appeared as Question 1 on the Nov. 8 ballot. Unofficial results showed the question winning by less than 1 percentage point, the closest contest on a ballot that included four other citizen-initiated referendums and a bond question.

"That narrow margin prompted opponents of legalization — organized as Mainers Protecting Our Youth and Communities — to ask the secretary of state to conduct a statewide recount.

"After a weekslong process that required ballots from all over the state to be collected and delivered to Augusta, the recount began earlier this month.

"The recount recessed Friday with plans to resume in January 2017.... However, Mainers Protecting Our Youth and Communities formally requested Saturday that the secretary of state’s office end the process....

"Preliminary estimates from Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap pegged the cost of a statewide ballot question recount at approximately $500,000. However, the No on 1 campaign in its release Saturday suggested the estimated cost of the recount was much lower, roughly $15,000, with little or no overtime costs incurred by state police or the secretary of state’s office.....

"The next step in the legalization process is for Gov. Paul LePage to send a proclamation to Dunlap affirming the validity of the election within 10 days after the secretary of state certifies the results. The Maine Constitution states that the law spelled out by the referendum would take effect 30 days after the governor issues that proclamation....

"Members of the incoming Legislature also have suggested that they will examine the law to see if added safeguards are needed to ensure marijuana does not become available to people younger than 21....

"Maine becomes the second New England state, after Massachusetts, to legalize marijuana use for recreational purposes. The state has allowed medical marijuana since 1999."

Read more: http://bangordailynews.com/2016/12/17/politics/recount-bid-ends-clearing-way-for-legal-marijuana-in-maine/

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