PORTLAND, Maine — The city is a step closer to legalizing the recreational use of marijuana, after the City Council voted unanimously Monday to hold a public hearing on the matter.

The July 15 hearing will be held in response to a citizen-proposed ordinance that would allow adults to possess up to 2.5 ounces of the drug. Proponents collected more than 2,500 signatures for a referendum on the proposal; only 1,500 signatures were required.

After the hearing, the council will have to decide whether to adopt the ordinance as written, put it to referendum, or propose an alternative law. If the council opts for a referendum, a vote would then have to be scheduled within 90 days.

It’s still not clear what impact a city ordinance legalizing pot would have, since possession of the marijuana is illegal under federal law, and state law only allows medicinal use.