High Stakes

Susan Sharon / Maine Public

The Question 1 recount is over. And Wednesday, the Maine secretary of state certified the election results.

Question 1, which legalizes the possession, cultivation and sale of recreational marijuana, will soon become law.

Soon, but not yet.

Chuck Grimmett / Flickr/Creative Commons

Over the past week, we’ve been reporting on Question 1, the ballot initiative that would establish a framework to distribute, tax and regulate marijuana sales across Maine. Today, in our final installment of “High Stakes,” we head to college, where students could play a critical role in determine whether the new initiative will pass.

Susan Sharon / MPBN

One of the big questions raised by the ballot initiative to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana in Maine is what effect it will have on the state’s medical marijuana program and the mom-and-pop economy it has created.

Patty Wight / MPBN

For some, the debate over whether to legalize recreational marijuana in Maine hangs on concerns related to criminal justice or economics. But for others, the central issue is public health.

Coast Guard News / Flickr/Creative Commons

States that have legalized marijuana are contending with a new criminal tactic — smugglers who grow and process it for export to states where it’s illegal and worth a lot more.

Patty Wight / MPBN

Maine’s law enforcement community is largely unified in its opposition to Question 1 on the fall ballot, which creates a framework for legalizing the recreational use of marijuana.

Susan Sharon / MPBN

Question 1 asks, “Do you want to allow the possession and use of marijuana under state law by persons who are at least 21 years of age, and allow the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, testing, and sale of marijuana and marijuana products subject to state regulation, taxation and local ordinance?”

In planning a framework to allow recreational marijuana sales in Maine, the authors of Question 1 looked to Colorado for inspiration. That state's law is now two years old, and there's a baseline of information that can be gleaned from the experiment. Some of it has been copied into Maine's proposed initiative, but there are also some key differences.

As we continue our weeklong series "High Stakes: How Legalizing Pot Could Affect Maine," A.J. Higgins takes a closer look at what those differences are.

Megan Verlee / Colorado Public Radio

When it comes to marijuana, Maine historically has been on the permissive side. It was one of the first states to decriminalize penalties for possession back in the ’70s and was one of the first to authorize the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.