The political action committee Legalize Maine plans to unveil an initiative to legalize cannabis on Wednesday, with the hopes of putting the proposal to a vote in 2016.

“I’ve seen the benefits of the marijuana economy, both the medical and underground market, on Maine’s rural economy, and it’s time to transition to a regulated, legal market,” says Legalize Maine president Paul McCarrier. “Mainers don’t need a group from Washington, D.C., to dictate what’s best for them.”

McCarrier’s comment about a “group from Washington, D.C.” refers to the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), which is planning its own legalization initiative for Maine, with the identical goal of putting it to a vote in 2016. MPP has led successful legalization initiatives in the Maine cities of Portland and South Portland.

McCarrier says that Legalize Maine’s plan is “radically different” from that of other legalization groups, because it “emphasizes economic development”, allowing all Maine adults to grow their own cannabis; the initiative would also permit “marijuana social clubs.”

“With our focus on the small marijuana farmer, we will prevent big tobacco and big pharmaceutical companies from coming into our state and attempting to take over this traditional agricultural market,” says McCarrier.

David Boyer, Maine political director for the Marijuana Policy Project, says the group’s announcement shows there is growing support for legal cannabis in Maine, and that ideally the two groups would work together.

“We’re definitely excited that people want this and are willing to work toward it,” Boyer says.

Legalize Maine plans to officially unveil their proposal on Wednesday morning.

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