Marijuana prosecution could prove to be a hot topic in the race for district attorney of Kennebec and Somerset counties.

Attorney Kevin Sullivan, of Gardiner, says he “will not prosecute the possession, use, sale, cultivation or trafficking of marijuana in Kennebec or Somerset counties” if he is elected to that post.

On Wednesday, Sullivan, an independent, formally announced that he will challenge incumbent Democrat Maeghan Maloney for the job. There is no Republican running for the office. Sullivan addressed the marijuana issue in his announcement, saying that he does not condone marijuana use “but he condemns the use of tax money to prosecute it.”

Maloney, who won a special election two years ago to complete the final two years of the four-term, has prosecuted marijuana offenses. However, she says they have always been in connection with dealing or trafficking marijuana in addition to other drugs.

“The Legislature decriminalized most of the marijuana possession cases,” she said. “We don’t have any cases where it’s just someone using marijuana. I think it’s important that the district attorney follow the law. I don’t try to rewrite the law.”

Current state law classifies possession of a small amount of marijuana as a civil violation rather than a criminal offense.

Sullivan gathered several hundred signatures to get his name listed on the November ballot. But that appears to be the end of his active campaign. He has no treasurer, no plans to raise money and no plans to put up any signs.

“People can keep their hard-earned money,” Sullivan said on Thursday. “It would be foolish for them to give me money so I could try to win a job. If people want to vote for me because they think I can do a good job, then they can vote for me. If they don’t, then they won’t.”

He said he waited until now to publicly announce his candidacy “because I think the election season runs too long.”

Portland voters last year approved a measure allowing adults to possess small amounts of marijuana. Other municipalities are considering similar measures.

Sullivan referenced Gov. Paul LePage’s proposal to add four more prosecutors to combat the rash of heroin that has appeared in the state.

“A more efficient use of state money would be to keep Maine’s current prosecutors focused on serious crimes, like heroin, without spending money on more minor issues, like marijuana,” Sullivan said.

He also said that his career as a defense attorney “has given him a unique perspective on the criminal justice system and prepared him to lead the district attorney’s office with maximum justice and efficiency.”

And while Sullivan does not accept defense work for clients charged with sex crimes, he said he would have no problem prosecuting those cases. Sullivan, 40, lives in Gardiner with his wife and five children and has his law office in Augusta. He has a law degree from the Franklin Pierce Law Center in New Hampshire and graduated from the University of New England with a degree in psychology and social relations.

He handles both criminal and civil legal matters. His announcement says he “accepted Jesus Christ as his personal savior in 2006 and looks forward to some day going home to live with the Lord for all of eternity.”

In 2009, Sullivan ran unsuccessfully for the District 4 seat on Gardiner City Council.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.