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South Portland pot debate


SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The South Portland Police Chief did something he's never done before Wednesday night: stepped on stage and debated a political issue.

Chief Edward Googins argued that marijuana legalization would be harmful to the South Portland community, and asked voters to reject a pot referendum question this November.

Googins debated David Boyer, the Maine Director of the Marijuana Policy Project, at a debate organized by the South Portland School Department.

Boyer led the successful campaign to legalize recreational marijuana in Portland, and has brought the campaign to South Portland and Lewiston.

"The facts are on our side," said Boyer, who has continued to frame the debate as an alcohol vs. marijuana conversation.

Meet the man behind the Target standoff


SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- When Corbin Pratt gave himself up to police in South Portland on Monday night, after a three hour standoff, even he didn't anticipate how much attention he would get in the following days.

Susan Kimball, from our media partner the Portland Press Herald, got to talk with Pratt a day after the standoff and she has more on this young man who caused such a stir because he didn't want to leave his home.

Pratt has been in Maine for a couple of months, now. But, this story started earlier this summer. Pratt said he drove all that way from California to Maine in a school bus he bought on Craigslist. When he arrived in Maine in August, he continued to live in his bus, moving from parking lot to parking lot, including a four week stint at Walmart in Falmouth.

Push to legalize pot in South Portland intensifies


SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- South Portland Police Chief Edward Googins will participate in a debate Wednesday night at South Portland High School as the push to legalize pot in South Portland intensifies.

Googins will lay out his reasons why South Portland voters should 'say no to pot' starting at 7 p.m. Googins was recently quoted in a Bangor Daily News article saying that, "claims marijuana is safer than alcohol are so bogus it's not even funny."

David Boyer, a pro-pot activist, is challenging Googins to what's being called a "drug duel." Boyer said he'll be at the Mill Creek Park Gazebo at high noon with "enough alcohol to kill a man." And he'll take a hit of pot for every shot Googins does.

There's no word on whether Googins will show up.


Anti-pot legalization signs stolen in South Portland


SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) Police are investigating after several anti-pot legalization signs have been vandalized or stolen.

The signs, which read "SoPo says No to Pot," only went up back on Thursday, according to pot opponents . Within minutes of being placed around South Portland, most of the signs had been stolen, they said. Volunteers replaced some of the stolen signs, which were then stolen a second time.

The group "Smart Approaches of Marijuana Maine" said none of the other elections signs in South Portland have been touched.
They claimed the signs opposing marijuana legalization are being specifically targeted.

Man in custody following standoff with police in South Portland


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SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- A man who barricaded himself in a bus in the Target parking lot in South Portland Monday has surrendered peacefully to police.

Police have charged 29-year-old Corbin Pratt of Oakland, California, with criminal trespassing, a misdemeanor.

South Portland school board takes stand against pot


SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Members of the South Portland Board of Education voted four to three to approve a resolution opposing the marijuana referendum. On Nov. 4, South Portland resident will decide whether to legalize marijuana possession for people 21 and older.

The resolution focused on health risks that marijuana use poses to minors. A poll conducted last year by the Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey found that 27.5 percent of South Portland High School students used marijuana in the past 30 days, up from 23.9 percent five years ago. Nearly 65 percent of those same students believe there is a slight or no risk of using marijuana regularly.

Opponents of the marijuana referendum said it puts youth at risk for use of a drug that is not safe.

Three arrested in South Portland hotel robbery


SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Officers responded to a South Portland Hotel for a robbery Tuesday morning.

A 30-year-old male reported that he made arrangements on backpage.com to meeet a transgender female at the hotel for a massage. The male was met by two females and one male, who physically assaulted him, took his money and other belongings, and temporarily prevented him from leaving the room. The victim was able to leave the room and notify hotel staff, who called police.

After an investigation, South Portland Police arrested 28-year-old Lauryn Ebanks, of MA, 28-year-old Brandon Jamieson, of CA, and 24-year-old Tiffany Ruiz for robbery and criminal restraint.

A small quantity of marijuana was confiscated at the time of the arrests.