The overturning of a proposal to legalize the possession of marijuana in Portland, Maine has led to a citywide poll.
The city council voted July 15 to decline the proposed changes in the marijuana law to legalize recreational pot. As a result, the ordinance change will be subjected to a voting procedure by November this year.
Proponents of the change, composed of a number of groups collectively called Citizens for a Safer Portland, are seeing this council decision as a racial issue. Maine NAACP executive board member Regina Phillips called on the council, citing the failure of the justice system. “It does not treat people equally,” Phillips said in a news release.
The issue evoked a similar negative vibe as experienced by African-American locals in the Zimmerman murder trial decision. Hispanic George Zimmerman was found not guilty in the shooting of Trayvon Martin, an African-American teenager. Civil rights activists found the decision to hold tinges of racial discrimination.
The coalition is composed of many groups calling for pot legalization, including the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine, the Portland Green Independent Committee, and the Marijuana Policy Project. The group was able to amass more than 2,500 voter signatures to push the petition of changing the ordinance.
The proposed revision as pushed by the coalition would allow people 21 years old and above to legally possess up to 2.5 ounces of pot and/or any marijuana paraphernalia. However, the proposal maintains the ban of recreational marijuana use in public places.