SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Portland became the first city on the East Coast to legalize recreational use of marijuana last November, but city councilors in a neighboring community say they don’t want the drug to be legalized there.
South Portland City Councilors unanimously passed a resolution Monday night opposing the legalization of recreational marijuana.
The resolution is non-binding, and is a way for city councilors to make a statement about the issue.
According to South Portland Mayor Jerry Jalbert, city leaders want to try and send the right message to youth about marijuana.
South Portland’s Police Chief, Ed Googins, said it is a danger to public health.
“It is not a good thing for our community,” said Chief Googins. “It does not make our community safer, and it will not add to the quality of life in our community.”
A majority of the public comment at the city council meeting supported legalization of marijuana.
David Boyer, Director of the Marijuana Policy Project, said marijuana is safer than alcohol, and a majority of Mainers favor legalization.
“Maybe if they’re so worried about South Portland’s health, youth, and drunk driving, then they should pass a resolution advocating for alcohol prohibition,” said Boyer, after the vote.
Smart Approaches to Marijuana, and advocacy group opposed to legalization, released a statement following the South Portland vote, stating, in part:
“We stand in alliance with South Portland leaders and citizens in promoting health and safe communities for our youth to live, learn, grow, and thrive….The experiment in Colorado is failing, we don’t need to bring it to Maine.”
Boyer said he doesn’t expect the South Portland resolution to have an impact on legalization efforts statewide.
He said the Marijuana Policy Project plans to circulate petitions to get the question on the November ballot in communities such as South Portland, Lewiston, and York.