PORTLAND, Maine — Opponents of a proposal to legalize marijuana in Maine said Wednesday they are readying to request a recount if the race is called in favor of the ballot initiative.
Results so far show voters who want to approve the proposal holding an edge of less than 1 percent. But the race remains too close to call with 98 percent of precincts reporting — there were 376,123 votes for and 372,936 votes against, as of 2:49 p.m. MST Wednesday. The Bangor Daily-News had reported early Wednesday that the measure was successful with results from 90 percent of precincts.
Maine voting results
100 percent of precincts reporting
Scott Gagnon, the chair of anti-legalization advocacy group Smart Approaches to Marijuana Maine, said he isn’t ready to concede the race. He said opponents of legalization are considering their next move, which could be a request for a recount.
Backers of recreational marijuana legalization held a rally outside Portland City Hall in which they said they were getting ready to work with the state to implement a legal marijuana program. They said they think marijuana will be available at retail marijuana establishments by 2018 at the earliest.
The proposal, which attracted national attention, would marijuana legal for people who are older than 21 and allow the state to cultivate, manufacture, distribute, test and sell marijuana and marijuana products. Marijuana would be taxed at 10 percent and subject to local restrictions.
Parents’ groups and some law enforcement organizations opposed the proposal. It also received scrutiny from members of the medical marijuana community, who fear it would replace the state’s medical program.
The statewide approval being sought follows votes to legalize pot at the city level in Portland and South Portland in recent years. The city of Lewiston shot down a similar proposal.
Proponents of marijuana in Maine want the state to join California, Nevada and Massachusetts in making the drug legal for recreational use in the state.
Cannabist staff contributed to this report.