Pubdate: Fri, 04 Nov 2016
Source: Portland Press Herald (ME)
Copyright: 2016 MaineToday Media, Inc.
Author: Charles F. Pattavina


We disagree with your recent editorial supporting Question 1.

I am currently president of the Maine Medical Association, consisting
of over 4,000 Maine physicians and physicians-in-training. In
furtherance of our mission to protect public health, we urge voters to
oppose Question 1.

Surveys of our member physicians show most oppose the ballot question,
which would allow unrestricted recreational use of marijuana. The
MMA's position mirrors those of the Maine Hospital Association, the
Maine Public Health Association and the Maine Chapter of the American
Academy of Pediatrics.

Maine laws decriminalize possession and allow use of marijuana for
medical purposes. Maine's medical marijuana law has an extensive list
of conditions allowing patients to possess marijuana. We'd like to see
studies of how these patients are doing before opening the floodgates.

We believe Question 1 will further destigmatize marijuana for
adolescents and lead to risky behavior. Studies have concluded that
heavy marijuana use by teenagers can lead to decreased intelligence,
motivation and judgment. Attorney General Janet Mills' announcement
that Question 1 removes the legal prohibition against minors
possessing marijuana bolsters our opinion that the proposal will
result in unintended consequences.

Legalizing marijuana will legitimize use of more mind-altering
substances when Maine is in the midst of an epidemic of drug overdose
deaths, confusing the public at a time when communities are working
hard to combat the problem.

Question 1 will also permit "pot bars" where marijuana can be
consumed. Who would want our communities to look like those in
Colorado, with cannabis stores on many street corners?

Rather than encouraging the use of drugs, let's ask why so many
Mainers can't get through the day without alcohol, marijuana or other
drugs and put resources into the prevention and treatment of substance
use disorders.
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