Good morning from Portland, where a leading pro-legalization congressman is meeting with lawmakers and the public to preach the gospel of regulated, taxed and legal weed.
U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon, has represented the other Portland in Congress for nearly two decades. In Washington, he’s proposed or supported not only legalization, but changes to federal drug laws, as well as efforts to protect medical marijuana patients, cut red tape preventing medical marijuana research and normalize taxes and banking for marijuana businesses in states where it is legal.
Blumenauer released a report arguing for legalization earlier this year, saying prohibition has failed.
“The current system is broken,” he wrote. “It wastes resources and destroys individual lives, in turn damaging families and entire communities. The progress over the last two years has been stunning, and it is essential that moving forward build on that progress to once and for all create a truly rational marijuana policy for the 21st century.”
Oregon is one of four states to have legalized recreational marijuana in the past three years (Washington, D.C., has legalized too). Maine voters are poised to vote on whether to follow suit, with two separate pro-legalization groups working to put the issue on the ballot in 2016.
Blumenauer will host a “meet and greet” with marijuana industry representatives and advocates at 5:30 p.m. today at the Urban Farm Fermentory on Anderson Street in Portland.
David Boyer, head of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol — one of the groups pushing for legalization at the ballot — said Blumenauer will also meet privately with Maine lawmakers while he’s in the Pine Tree State.
If marijuana policy doesn’t float your boat, you have one other chance to familiarize yourself with Blumenauer today: The congressman is a champion of public media, having founded the Public Broadcasting Caucus 15 years ago. He’ll be on MPBN’s Maine Calling today at 1 p.m. to discuss the future of public radio. You can listen at mpbn.net. — Mario Moretto, BDN.
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Poliquin to attend gun show in Augusta this weekend
U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin will tout his Second Amendment cred this weekend when he attends the Augusta Gun Show at the city’s Civic Center.
The gun show, at which businesses and private individuals can, buy, sell and trade firearms, takes place Aug. 22-23. Poliquin will attend, according to a release from his office, though it’s unclear which day he’ll be there, or when.
“Growing up in Central Maine, I understand the importance and tradition of fishing, camping, hunting and exercising our Second Amendment rights,” Poliquin wrote. “… In Congress, I will continue to support bills that will allow Mainers to pass along the rich tradition of exercising their Second Amendment rights from one generation to the next.”
Poliquin, a Republican, said in the release that he is a proud supporter of gun rights. He opposed President Barack Obama’s plan to ban M855 ammunition, which is commonly used in AR-15 rifles. He supports a national concealed carry reciprocity bill, and co-sponsored legislation to allow military members to carry firearms on military bases and recruitment centers, a practice currently prohibited. — Mario Moretto, BDN.
House Speaker takes ‘jobs tour’ to midcoast today
Maine House Speaker Mark Eves, D-North Berwick, is headed to the Midcoast today as part of the “jobs tour” he and other top Democrats started in January.
The goal is to meet with businesses in their own communities to see what’s working in the quest to create jobs. Eves and the Democrats have made “good jobs, strong wages” their legislative mantra this session.
Eves — along with Reps. Erin Herbig, D-Belfast, and Christine Burstein, D-Lincolnville — will visit AthenaHealth in Belfast, as well as Liberty Graphics and Revision Energy in Liberty. — Mario Moretto, BDN.
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