AUGUSTA, Maine - The Maine House of Representatives has rejected a measure that would send to the voters a proposal legalizing the sale, and taxation, of marijuana in the state.
The House voted against the bill 98 to 45. Rep. Karen Gerrish, a Republican from Lebanon, says legalizing pot in Colorado has proven to be a bad idea.
"Emergency room visits have increased by 57 percent, and hospitalizations related to marijuana have increased 82 percent," Gerrish said.
But supporters argue they want to provide Maine voters with an alternative to the citizen's ballot initiative underway that would follow Colorado's lead.
They say that legislation does not provide a good structure to regulate the sale of pot and would lead to Maine facing the same problems as Colorado.
"This is not about endorsing legalizing marijuana, as I am personally against it. But I want to give my constituents a choice at a more rational policy," said Rep. Justin Chenette, a Biddeford Democrat.
The Senate has yet to consider the issue.
By MAL LEARY