Poll: Majority of Maine Supports Legalization of Marijuana

A majority of Maine voters supports legalizing recreational marijuana this November, according to a new poll by the University of New Hampshire survey center, commissioned by the Portland Press Herald.

The poll found 53 percent of respondents supported legalization, while 38 percent opposed it.

"We're excited about the polling, and it affirms what we've been hearing from people across the state," said Alysia Melnick, spokesperson for the Yes on 1 campaign.

Question 1 would allow adults 21 and older to possess and grow small amounts of marijuana. It would allow retail shops to be established in municipalities that allow it, and collect a projected $15 million in tax revenue annually.

"Mainers are ready for this," said Melnick.

Opponents of the measure are also getting ready to increase campaign efforts in the weeks leading up to the election.

"It's going to be a very robust, aggressive campaign," said Scott Gagnon, director of the No on 1 campaign. He said the No on 1 campaign is planning TV ads and forums, touting endorsements from groups like the Maine Chiefs of Police and the NAMI Maine chapter.

"It will increase access to youth and fundamentally change our communities," said Gagnon.

The ballot question has mixed support among the medical marijuana community.

One business strongly supporting the measure is SJR Labs, a medical marijuana extraction company, and JAR medical marijuana consulting in Southern Maine.

Partner Joel P. said Question 1 would allow his two businesses to grow. "We could go from six employees to double or triple that if this passes," he said.

SJR Labs takes plant materials and turns them into oil cannabis extract for medical marijuana caregivers, using a non-combustible CO2 process. JAR consulting helps other medical marijuana operations plan, and lets growers sublet space for plants. Joel P. said he is already in the process of expanding his business, in preparation of recreational marijuana passing in Maine.

"It will give us the chance to develop a business plan five, 10 years out," he said. "Currently we're not confident doing that."

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