LEWISTON — Advocates hoping to put the question of legal marijuana before Lewiston voters in November are less than halfway to their goal of collecting 859 signatures from registered voters.

As of Tuesday, the Maine Marijuana Policy Project had collected 424 signatures, according to Lewiston City Clerk Kathy Montejo. The group has until Aug. 8 to turn in another 435 signatures. 

The group is hoping to ask Lewiston to legalize marijuana for recreational use by adults. If approved by voters, city ordinances would be changed, making the possession of up to 1 ounce of marijuana legal for recreational use for people over the age of 21.

If approved by city voters, state and federal law would still supersede any city ordinance, according to Lewiston officials and Mayor Robert Macdonald, who has said he’s an opponent to legalizing marijuana for recreational use.

Portland voters approved a similar ordinance in 2013. Voters in South Portland will vote on a legalization question in November.

David Boyer, the political director for the Maine Marijuana Policy Project, said he was confident his group would gather the signatures it needs by the deadline. In an email message Tuesday, Boyer said organizers have been focused on gathering the signatures they needed to place the measure on the ballot in South Portland and will now turn their full attention to Lewiston.

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“Myself and volunteers will be on the streets the next couple days,” Boyer said. “I am confident we will make it.”

The group is hoping to pass local ordinances in an effort to show citizen support for a statewide law change. Boyer has said in the past that if the Legislature fails to legalize marijuana for adults in Maine, it will begin a signature drive to put the issue before voters as a statewide referendum question in 2015.

Residents in the states of Colorado and Washington voted to legalize recreational use of marijuana in 2013. 

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