April 19, 2011

Rally to tout bill to legalize, tax marijuana

By Edward D. Murphy emurphy@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

PORTLAND — Supporters of a bill to legalize and tax marijuana in Maine will rally at City Hall Wednesday.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Diane Russell, D-Portland, will be formally released at the 10 a.m. event.

"It is time to stop turning otherwise law-abiding people into criminals, begin taxing marijuana for commercial sale, and refocus our criminal justice resources toward issues that are truly devastating communities," Russell said.

The bill would legalize the personal use and cultivation of marijuana and levy a 7 percent tax on purchases. It would also license some commercial marijuana-related activities.

Funds generated by the tax would be directed to programs benefiting farmers, preserving land, assisting law enforcement, funding weatherization and supporting higher education.

The bill is expected to have a public hearing before the Legislature's Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee in the next few weeks.

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