Cannabis Liberation Day went up in smoke

Good evening from the BDN Portland office on Congress Street. Tonight everyone in Monument Square has the munchies; a lobster roll fest comes to Thompson’s Point; and the lawyer who sent Anthony Sanborn to prison speaks out.

What we’re talking about

‘Absolutely’ guilty — In some late-breaking news, BDN Portland scored an interview with the lawyer who got Anthony Sanborn convicted of murder in 1992. It’s the first time she’s talked to the media since Sanborn was released on bail last week after 25 years in prison. Jake Bleiberg reports:

Former assistant attorney general Pamela Ames said that she remains “absolutely” convinced that justice was done when Sanborn was sentenced to 70 years in prison for the murder of Jessica Briggs.

Ames said that she intends to provide testimony and evidence that will refute “the false allegations and misinformation” that have been presented to the Cumberland County Superior Court in a push to prove Sanborn’s claim of innocence — setting the stage for a new legal showdown over the fate of a man who has already spent the better part of three decades behind bars.

“It is too bad that the court has not heard facts about the actual prosecution that happened 25 years ago and has made some pre-judgments that are not consistent with the evidence,” Ames said. “I am looking forward to testifying as to the facts and not all the false allegations and misinformation that [Sanborn’s lawyer] is feeding the court.”

Free weed in the square — Portland turned into Pot-land for a glorious hour today. At high noon everyone’s favorite ganjapreneur Crash Barry handed out buds of a local blueberry marijuana strain to celebrate the first legal 4/20 in Maine. The line snaked down to Longfellow Books as eager Portlanders queued up for free pot. “Happy holidays,” a jubilated Barry cheered. Now that cannabis is freshly legal, you can gift it, but not sell it. And Barry took full advantage to everyone’s delight. Troy R. Bennett with the story, video and photos. — Kathleen Pierce

Councilors call for 100% clean energy by 2040 — City councilors are looking to power municipal operations entirely on clean energy within 23 years. Spencer Thibodeau, chair of the council’s Sustainability and Transportation Committee, will be proposing an amendment to the city’s 2008 climate action plan at a April 25 public meeting. The amendment would aim to shift city government away from fossil fuels and is supported by the Maine chapter of the Sierra Club, which said its adoption would make Portland the second city in New England and 27th across the country to commit to eventually using only renewable energy. Thibodeau said that the city council will need to work out what counts as clean energy and that the goal is made challenging by the need to power  city vehicles as a well as municipal buildings. Mayor Ethan Strimling and councilors Belinda Ray and Jill Duson also expressed support for the plan.

Who makes the world’s best lobster roll? — That’s the question a new summer festival coming to Portland is looking to answer. On July 8, Down East Magazine will host chefs from across the country for a competition at Thompson’s Point, BDN Portland’s Kathleen Pierce reports. The event picks up from the now-defunct Lobster Roll Rumble, held in New York City, and Maine chefs are confident that they can bring the title of World’s Best Lobster Roll home. “This is our product. Maine has blueberry pie and lobster rolls,” said Steve Kingston, owner of The Clam Shack.

Maine has nation’s highest rate of asbestos deaths— Decades after the implementation of federal regulations to limit exposure, cancer linked to asbestos is killing residents in Maine at the highest rate in the country, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. BDN’s Jackie Farwell reports:

Health officials point out that most of those deaths occurred in people older than 85, likely reflecting asbestos exposure from many years earlier….

Still, mesothelioma continues to claim lives long after the U.S. began regulating workers’ exposure to asbestos in 1971. The Environmental Protection Agency also bans the use of asbestos in some products, while allowing it in other materials, such as roofing supplies.

Mesothelioma deaths are decreasing among people under age 55, but the fact that they continue at all suggests workers are still being exposed, the CDC noted.

Ashton Kutcher’s car did not break down in Westbrook— Fake news strikes again! An item about the actor breaking down in Westbrook, getting helped out by locals and enjoying the experience so much he wants to retire in the town is not true. Some locals got Punk’d by the item published by, “a satirical and fantasy website.” The stites states that, “None of the articles on should be considered true and are simply works of satire or fantasy meant for entertainment purposes.  The satirical and fantasy articles on poke fun at our celebrity obsessed cultures and the politically correct world we’re forced to live in.” Enuff said. — Kathleen Pierce

Kesho Wazo at Space Gallery — Portland youth group Kesho Wazo, which means  “tomorrow’s ideas” in Swahili, will be performing and screening a short film at the Space Gallery on Saturday beginning at 8 p.m. The event will feature performance art, fashion design and a pop-up shop, according to organizer David Thete.

Tweet of the day

Happy 4/20 from Cat Food Breath:

The Big Idea

Abs-olutely fabulous” — An old story, but interesting: Apparently we all have entirely unrealistic standards of beauty.

Got any interesting story ideas, suggestions or links to share? Email Jake Bleiberg at, or tweet @JZBleiberg.

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