PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Supporters of legalizing marijuana for recreational use are ready to move on following Tuesday's narrow victory, but election officials say it may take weeks for an "official" tally.
The No on 1 campaign is collecting signatures for a possible recount because they say the "unofficial" margin of about 4,400 votes — or half of 1 percent — is too close.
Once the law takes effect, adults will be allowed to have 2.5 ounces of marijuana.
The No on 1 camp is not conceding because it says legalizing marijuana for adults is such a major policy change, they owe it to voters to request a recount. One thing is for sure: the process could take weeks to complete.
The law would allow adults to have up to six mature plants, 12 immature plants and an unlimited number of seedlings without a state license. Opponents are collecting signatures for a potential recount, which has to be requested within five business days of the election.
Secretary of State Matt Dunlap said a recount could bring closure in a tight race, but very few recounts change the outcome of a race, especially with today's tabulating machines, which are 99.9 percent accurate. Still, No on 1 opponents say there is too much at stake not to make sure the vote tally is accurate.
"The margin is razor thin, there are more than 375,000 people in the state of Maine that voted against this," No on 1 advisor Newell Auger said. "It demands a careful, accurate result, and the idea that we are going to push on through when the margin is .005 [percent] is foolhardy."
"We are talking thousands of votes difference," Yes on 1 campaign manager David Boyer said. "I just don't see them making up that ground. Those votes can flip our way. We are ready to move forward with implementation."
Opponents have to turn in 100 signatures to the Secretary of State's office by 5 p.m. next Wednesday. If the signatures are verified, the recount could take weeks and would involve both sides of the campaign. It is expected to take about a year for the pot law to go into effect.