The Marijuana Policy Project says it will not appeal a judge’s decision supporting the town’s refusal to put the issue to a townwide vote.

The Marijuana Policy Project has decided not to appeal a Superior Court decision that would have required York selectmen to put a recreational marijuana legalization question on the ballot.

York County Superior Court Justice Paul Fritzsche last month sided with town leaders who twice rejected citizen petitions calling for them to send a proposed marijuana legalization ordinance to voters in November. The judge ruled that legalization advocates, led by the Marijuana Policy Project, were asking the town of York to approve something it cannot regulate because marijuana use is governed by state and federal law, not local ordinances.

Unlike in some other communities, York’s town charter had a clause allowing the Board of Selectmen to reject a petition that is “not lawful.”

The decision meant only two Maine communities – Lewiston and South Portland – will vote on similar proposals in November, part of a strategy by advocates to gauge public sentiment in anticipation of a potential statewide vote in 2016. In those communities, councilors were bound to either adopt the ordinance or put it to voters.

Friday was a deadline to appeal the decision regarding York’s referendum. An appeal would have kept open the possibility of a referendum there in the future. The Marijuana Policy Project withdrew its case this week.

Boyer characterized the situation in York as a “speed bump” that will not deter supporters from seeking to end marijuana prohibition in Maine.

“We’re confident an appeal would be successful, but at this point we cannot afford to continue playing this game with the selectmen,” said David Boyer, Maine political director for the Marijuana Policy Project “We know there is support for ending marijuana prohibition in York, and we’re going …read more