Local legislators were split on a bill that would legalize possession and sale of marijuana and impose regulations and taxes.

The Maine House voted 107-39 on June 14 to defeat LD 1453, which would have allowed a person 21 years or older to possess, purchase and use marijuana within certain limits and to cultivate a limited amount of marijuana for personal use. The bill would allow a person to possess up to one pound of marijuana and possess marijuana paraphernalia.

The Legislature’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee recommended rejection of the bill that was sponsored by Rep. Diane Russell, D-Portland.

The bill would also regulate commercial sales of marijuana and impose a 7 percent tax.

Local legislators were divided on the bill. Voting to support the legalization bill were Democratic Reps. Chuck Kruger of Thomaston, Joan Welsh of Rockport, and Andrew O’Brien of Lincolnville.

“Our current laws are not working. The prisons are heavily populated with non-violent drug offenders — at great expense. Too many precious law enforcement resources are dedicated to pot-smokers,” Kruger said.

Welsh said it was time to put marijuana in the same category as alcohol and manage its use in the same way.

“Enforcing it now is very difficult, is ineffective and is just costing our state and municipalities money,” Welsh said.

O’Brien said he supports allowing the people of Maine to vote on this issue and only when the federal government allows states to make their own decisions in this area.

Voting against the bill were Reps. Edward Mazurek, D-Rockland; Wes Richardson, R-Warren; Dana Dow, R-Waldoboro; Walter Kumiega III, D-Deer Isle; Deborah Sanderson, R-Chelsea; and Jonathan McKane, R-Newcastle.

“I think the ‘War on Drugs’ needs a comprehensive review and overhaul, which may include changes in marijuana laws, but I don’t want to make that change in isolation,” Kumiega said.

The Senate has yet to vote on the bill.