Portland PD Shift Enforcement as Marijuana Law Takes Effect
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The new ordinance that legalizes marijuana for those 21 and older is now in effect in Maine's largest city. But police say they intend to continue enforcing state laws on marijuana possession.
The city ordinance makes it legal for adults to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana, but police officers will continue to enforce state law that makes possession of up to 2.5 ounces a civil violation.
Portland Mayor Michael Brennan said there were only 54 marijuana citations in the past year, reflecting the low priority that police officers place on the offenses. He expects the numbers will drop further.
‘‘We believe police will continue as they have in using discretion in enforcing marijuana laws,’’ he said.
Portland’s new ordinance provides a symbolic victory that marijuana advocates intend to use as a springboard to a statewide law.
David Boyer of the Marijuana Policy Project said the law remains a "major step toward broader marijuana policy reform in Maine."
It remains illegal to smoke pot in public under the law, which went into effect Friday.
Maine is one of 16 states that have decriminalized possession of certain amounts of marijuana. That means someone caught possessing less than 2.5 ounces is subject to a civil summons unless the drug is being furnished or packaged for sale or distribution.