AUGUSTA — A group hoping to place a ballot question before Maine voters to legalize recreational marijuana says it has raised $53,011 in the second quarter of 2015.

But $50,000 of the donation to The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol came from the Marijuana Policy Project, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group that claims 200,000 supporters nationwide, and 4,000 in Maine.

Campaign manager David Boyer said 90 percent of the 190 donations made to the campaign came from Maine residents.

“Mainers are clearly excited about the opportunity to end marijuana prohibition,” Boyer said in a prepared statement. “Most people agree that it’s time for our state to adopt a more sensible marijuana policy, and that’s exactly what we’re proposing. Regulating marijuana and taxing it like alcohol just makes sense.”

Boyer said the campaign is in full swing. “In addition to raising thousands of dollars, we have already collected several thousand signatures. If we can maintain this momentum, I’m confident we will have what it takes to qualify for the ballot and run a strong campaign in 2016.”

To be placed on the ballot in 2016, the campaign must collect at least 61,123 signatures from registered Maine voters.

State lawmakers earlier this year soundly rejected a pair of bills that would have put a question before voters on legalizing marijuana.

Another Maine-based group, Legalize Maine, also is working to collect signatures to place a question on the 2016 ballot.

Legalize Maine’s campaign president, Paul McCarrier, said his group raised over $25,000 during the same reporting period with most of it coming in small cash donations from Maine people.

The campaign’s largest contribution of $10,000 came from Spruce Valley, a Rangeley-based company owned by Lucas Sirois, who is involved in Maine’s medical marijuana caregiver community.

McCarrier said his group was moving quickly with its signature-gathering campaign and planned to make several other announcements in the days ahead.

The two campaigns have different approaches to how marijuana would be regulated and differ on a variety of issues, including how much marijuana an individual can possess and who would be allowed to grow marijuana for commercial sale in Maine.

Legalize Maine will ask voters to legalize up to 2½ ounces of marijuana for adults 21 and older and it would legalize an unlimited number of retail sales establishments. Under its proposal, marijuana cultivation and sales would be regulated by the Maine Department of Agriculture. 

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol will ask voters to legalize possession of 1 ounce of marijuana by adults and no more than 70 retail stores in the first year of legalization. Its plan would see the Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations regulate the new industry in Maine.

If both campaigns are successful, voters would be faced with picking one of the two, supporting both or rejecting both. 

Both groups have until about Feb. 1, 2016, to submit their required signatures, according to Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap.

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