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UPDATE: Legislative Panel Hears Case for Marijuana Legalization
05/03/2013 11:07 AM ET  

The sponsor of a bill to legalize marijuana told the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee today that the Legislature needs to "get ahead'' of the issue.

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) _ Maine lawmakers are being told they need to get ahead of the marijuana legalization issue and set up a regulatory framework now.

The sponsor of a bill to legalize marijuana, Democratic Rep. Diane Russell of Portland, told the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee on Friday that the Legislature needs to "get ahead'' of the issue.

The bill, which is modeled after laws in Washington state and Colorado, would legalize, tax and regulate the sale of marijuana for personal consumption for people over 21 years old. Adults could also grow up to six plants for personal consumption in an enclosed space.

Russell says the bill, which calls for a referendum in November 2013, would decrease violent crime by controlling what now is an illegal drug trade.



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