BDN: Maine voters narrowly endorse recreational marijuana use

FILE - Don Christen of Starks smokes marijuana outside the Somerset County Courthouse during the 26th annual Patriot's Day Rally smoke-in, which he organizes every year to educate and bring awareness to the benefits of marijuana. (Linda Coan O'Kresik | BDN)

PORTLAND (WGME) -- In a very narrow margin, Mainers have approved legalizing recreational marijuana, according to the Bangor Daily News.

Yes on 1 is declaring victory with results showing marijuana legalization ahead by one percent of the vote.

The opposition says it's not ready to concede.

While the No on 1 campaign says it's exploring all options, members of Yes on 1 are wrapped up a victory celebration at Portland City Hall.

It's still a nail biter, but the conversation Wednesday is already shifting toward how to move forward and implement legalization.

With more than 90 percent of precincts reporting, it’s neck and neck with legalization leading by a few thousand votes.

The race was called for Yes on 1 Wednesday morning by the Bangor Daily News, meaning adults 21 and over will soon be allowed to possess up to 2.5 ounces of pot and use it in private.

The legislature has a long road ahead to implement rules and regulations for retail stores and social clubs.

Opponents worry about the drug getting into the hands of kids and the message it sends, but advocates argue this is long overdue and it expands access for medical use. It is also expected to bring millions of dollars in revenue.

“Hopefully we can do this in a way that actually can work at putting out of business some of these black market drug dealers who are pushing these sorts of drugs on our kids, putting this behind the counter with regulated licensed businesses that ask for ID,” Senator Eric Brakey, Auburn, said.

The campaign wants to remind people, if the results hold, they can’t light-up until mid-December because marijuana will not be legal until then.

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