A joint Maine House and Senate committee on Tuesday advanced a bill to broadly decriminalize possession of illicit drugs and another measure to reform the state’s drug trafficking laws—but the panel’s members were split on how the legislature should handle the decriminalization proposal going forward. The first piece of legislation, LD 967, would make illicit drug possession a civil violation punishable by a fine of up to $100. People would be able to avoid that penalty if they submit to an “evidence-based assessment for proposed treatment for substance use disorder.” The Joint Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, which first heard testimony on the proposal late last month, was split on the legislation. There was talk of a potential compromise during an earlier work session on Monday, but that didn’t happen—and an initial vote to pass the bill failed 5-6. The committee ending up issuing three separate reports with differing recommendations on how the legislation should be handled on the House floor, where it heads next.
Kyle Jaeger, Marijuana Moment, 05/26/2021 11:41:00