Marijuana is now legal in Maine's largest city. Voters in Portland overwhelmingly passed a ballot that allows for the possession of 2.5 ounces of pot without civil or criminal penalty.
In Maine, marijuana is decriminalized. However, there are fines up to $1,000 for possession of up to 2.5 ounces. Now, Portland police will stop making marijuana arrests, but state police can still adhere to the state law. Also, sale of marijuana remains illegal. Still, this is big news. In 2005, Denver legalized pot; seven years later the state followed suit. Maine will likely have legalization on the 2016 ballot.
"This sends a clear message that Mainers are ready to have a conversation about a statewide tax and regulation structure," says State Rep. Diane Russell. "This is what happens when grassroots people get together and change the world they live in."
In other election news:
• Voters in Colorado agreed to excise and sales taxes on marijuana. They approved Prop AA by a 65% to 35% margin.
• Voters in three Michigan cities (Lansing, Jackson and Ferndale) also passed ballots that remove penalties for marijuana possession.
• Bill de Blasio defeated Joe Lhota by nearly 50 points to become New York's first Democratic mayor in 20 years. De Blasio has promised to reform policies that have allowed for hundreds of thousands of marijuana arrests over the last two decades as well as the NYPD's controversial stop and frisk tactic.
• In Brooklyn, Ken Thompson ended Charles Hynes' reign as district attorney. Thompson agrees with de Blasio on decriminalizing marijuana.