Bangor Daily News _ME_ 1/1/1997 - 31/12/2017
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1 US ME: OPED: Maine Can Keep Pot Illegal And Avoid Making The SameFri, 04 Nov 2016
Source:Bangor Daily News (ME) Author:Morris, John Area:Maine Lines:104 Added:11/08/2016

I've spent my 50-year career in public safety and the military trying to protect and keep people safe. Some of the most challenging things I have dealt with were not actions of individuals but the consequences of political decisions. With Question 1, which would legalize recreational marijuana, you get to decide whether this law goes into effect. If it does, I can assure you the unintended consequences will be many.

As a naval officer during the Vietnam War, I saw young men devolve into addiction - first with marijuana and then with harder drugs such as heroin. As Waterville police chief, I saw parents neglect their children and watched as young people let their ambitions wallow in a haze of marijuana smoke. As commissioner of public safety, which includes Maine State Police, Maine Drug Enforcement Agency and Maine fire marshal's office, I read reports almost daily about marijuana-related incidents, crashes and crimes.

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2 US ME: OPED: Legalizing Marijuana Use Is The Rational Alternative ToFri, 04 Nov 2016
Source:Bangor Daily News (ME) Author:Melnick, Alysia Area:Maine Lines:109 Added:11/08/2016

This paper acknowledges "the U.S.'s long war on drugs has been a dismal failure." On November 8, Maine voters will have the opportunity adopt a rational marijuana policy.

Question 1 would legalize, tax and regulate marijuana for adults 21 and over. It contains strong protections for kids, employers and landlords; provides local controls; prioritizes Maine farmers and businesses; expands access for all adults; and protects our m-edical marijuana program that has served patients since 1999.

This initiative is about civil liberties and privacy. It's about jobs and revenue. It's about protecting children and public safety. And it's about addressing our addiction epidemic.

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3 US ME: LTE: Marijuana MadnessThu, 03 Nov 2016
Source:Bangor Daily News (ME) Author:Cindi, Area:Maine Lines:45 Added:11/08/2016

Our biggest problem with Question 1, which would legalize recreational marijuana, is how more drug exposure may affect our children. At Parkview Medical Center in Pueblo, Colorado, there has been 51 percent increase in children under age 18 needing emergency room treatment for marijuana-related conditions over the last two years. A lot of these kids are getting their marijuana by ingesting marijuana edibles - candy, cookies, lollipops. Do you want pot shops and pot bars opening up next to your schools, churches, houses, parks and playgrounds?

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4 US VT: Editorial: Unraveling Drug Addiction Requires CommunityFri, 05 Feb 2016
Source:Bangor Daily News (ME)          Area:Vermont Lines:91 Added:02/07/2016

Rutland, Vermont, unwittingly became the poster child for America's drug epidemic several years ago. The national attention and a sense that their city had bottomed out galvanized local residents and leaders to fight back. They formed committees, made lists of recommendations and, most important, set goals. Project Vision hasn't eradicated heroin from Rutland, but it offers a "take back our community" template other communities can model.

In Bangor, like Rutland, groups of concerned citizens have been meeting for years to address addiction in the area. A working group, created by the Bangor City Council in 2014, developed a list of specific, achievable recommendations. The Bangor Community Health Leadership Board, which helped coordinate a community forum in 2014 where the federal drug czar, Michael Botticelli, spoke of the need for treatment to help opiate addicts, is focusing on five of them. It has developed pain medicine prescribing protocols for use by local medical facilities. It pushed for a new local detox facility, which is funded in the drug legislation passed last month by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Paul LePage. It is seeking ways to make the anti-overdose drug Narcan more widely available. The group also worked with local lawmakers to draft legislation aimed at making treatment more widely available and effective.

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5 US ME: OPED: Why Marijuana Prohibition Is PointlessWed, 23 Sep 2015
Source:Bangor Daily News (ME) Author:Callahan, Patricia Area:Maine Lines:97 Added:09/26/2015

I've wanted to write a post about demonizing marijuana use for a while, but my views are controversial, so I've kept them to myself. I've written quite a bit about our state's addiction epidemic, though, and I'm beginning to feel disingenuous about ignoring the marijuana debate as a piece of that story. As I read about Bangor Public Health's forum on the "pitfalls of legalization of recreational marijuana," my conscience tugged at my fingers.

You see, I am a lot more concerned about the pitfalls of not legalizing and have been for years.

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6 US ME: Conflict Between Maine Pro-Pot Groups Spreads to theTue, 18 Aug 2015
Source:Bangor Daily News (ME) Author:Flisiuk, Francis Area:Maine Lines:213 Added:08/19/2015

PORTLAND, Maine - The conflict between two groups seeking to place recreational marijuana legalization questions on the 2016 state ballot continues to deepen as signature-gatherers take to the streets.

After months of negotiations - which the leader of one of the groups characterized as a sham - failed to achieve a compromise, animosity between Legalize Maine and the Marijuana Policy Project made its way to the streets and storefronts of Portland, as the two organizations each work to gather more than 60,000 signatures required to place their questions on the November 2016 ballot.

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7 US ME: OPED: 5 Myths About MarijuanaTue, 18 Aug 2015
Source:Bangor Daily News (ME) Author:Comstock, Jamie Area:Maine Lines:114 Added:08/19/2015

By Jamie Comstock, Special to the BDN Posted Aug. 17, 2015, at 8:50 p.m.

Let's break down some myths about marijuana:

Myth 1: Marijuana use is harmless. Today's marijuana is far more potent than the plant of the past.

New strains are being crossbred to produce higher levels of tetrahydrocannabinol "" the chemical responsible for marijuana's effects "" than ever before, with some reaching 20 to 30 percent THC (as compared with the average 1 percent THC in the 1970s).

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8 US ME: PUB LTE: End The Drug WarWed, 13 May 2015
Source:Bangor Daily News (ME) Author:Sharpe, Robert Area:Maine Lines:40 Added:05/13/2015

Regarding Scott Gagnon's May 7 BDN blog post, the drug war is a cure worse than the disease. Children of inmates are at risk of educational failure, joblessness, addiction and delinquency. Not only do the children lose out, but society as a whole does, too.

Incarcerating nonviolent drug offenders alongside hardened criminals is the equivalent of providing them with a taxpayer-funded education in criminal behavior. Prisons transmit violent habits rather than reduce them.

Nonviolent drug offenders are eventually released, with dismal job prospects because of criminal records. Turning drug users into unemployable ex-cons is a senseless waste of tax dollars.

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9 US ME: OPED: A Path To Wellness, Not A Jail CellFri, 08 May 2015
Source:Bangor Daily News (ME) Author:Gagnon, Scott Area:Maine Lines:86 Added:05/09/2015

This Friday at the State House, the Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety will have a work session on LD 113, An Act to Reduce the Penalties for Certain Drug Offenses. The bill is sponsored by Senator Roger Katz of Kennebec. The bill, in part, looks to downgrade punishments associated with possession of heroin and methamphetamine, two drugs that have been especially problematic in Maine. The bill would downgrade possession of these Class W drugs from a Class C Felony crime to a Class D Misdemeanor crime.

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10 US ME: Medical Marijuana Users Rent Downtown Bangor Space toMon, 15 Dec 2014
Source:Bangor Daily News (ME) Author:Ricker, Nok-Noi Area:Maine Lines:148 Added:12/20/2014

BANGOR, Maine - A local group of medical marijuana patients is renting a space downtown where they can smoke or ingest their medicine.

A group calling itself the 13 Owls Club is renting on an hourly basis the VIP smoking area above the recently expanded hookah lounge run by the Herbal Tea & Tobacco shop in the heart of the city, Herbal Tea owner Christopher Ruhlin said during a recent interview.

"We have doctors, lawyers and architects, and these people depend on a discreet, professional environment," said Ruhlin, adding that he is a medical marijuana patient advocate and a member of the club.

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11 US ME: OPED: Legalization Isn't Inevitable: Maine Has MoreTue, 25 Nov 2014
Source:Bangor Daily News (ME) Author:Gagnon, Scott Area:Maine Lines:96 Added:11/26/2014

Last week saw the launch of a second initiative to put a question on the 2016 Maine ballot to legalize recreational marijuana. This effort would run alongside the stated intent of the Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project to gather signatures and also put a question on the 2016 ballot.

Some media outlets are framing this as Mainers having two choices for legalizing marijuana in Maine. But the truth of the matter is they will have three choices on how marijuana policy moves forward in Maine. A third choice will be to reject marijuana legalization of both varieties and move forward with a public health-oriented approach that doesn't create a third legalized drug.

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12 US ME: OPED: America's Stupidest Criminal LawsFri, 27 Jun 2014
Source:Bangor Daily News (ME) Author:Blanks, Jonathan Area:Maine Lines:114 Added:06/28/2014

Imagine this: Two defendants, same age, smoke joints with some friends one July evening in their apartments. Neither has a criminal record. Both get caught; one faces an extra two years in jail.

Why? Because he shared drugs within a certain number of feet from a school that's been out for a month.

The so-called "Drug Free School Zone" is one of many laws that create extra penalties for already illegal acts with no reasonable tie to the public's safety or the defendant's particular circumstances.

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13 US ME: Pot Emerges As New Focus For Groups Fighting TeenThu, 26 Dec 2013
Source:Bangor Daily News (ME) Author:Lynds, Jen Area:Maine Lines:88 Added:12/27/2013

FORT KENT, Maine - Earlier this month, the possession of marijuana for nonmedical use became legal in Portland. This, and other sporadic discussions about marijuana legalization in Maine, has shifted the focus of an Aroostook County-based organization that works to curb substance abuse among young people.

Now, besides teaching youth about the dangers of drunk driving, they are paying more attention to how marijuana can impair motorists when they get behind the wheel.

Michelle Plourde Chasse, Community Voices project manager, said in the past, Community Voices and similar groups have focused on alcohol when talking about impaired driving prevention over the past two or three decades.

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14 US ME: Ordinance Legalizing Recreational Marijuana Use In PortlandFri, 06 Dec 2013
Source:Bangor Daily News (ME) Author:Koenig, Seth Area:Maine Lines:95 Added:12/07/2013

PORTLAND, Maine - An ordinance legalizing possession of marijuana for nonmedical use in Maine's largest city goes into effect Friday.

Last month, Portland voters approved by a wide margin the legalization measure, which allows individuals 21 or older to carry 2.5 ounces or less of the drug according to city rules.

While medical use of marijuana has been legal in Maine since 1999, and larger scale medical marijuana dispensaries have been legal since 2009, the Portland ordinance is the first in the state to legalize pot for recreational purposes.

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15 US ME: Portland Pot Legalization Advocates Expect Police toFri, 08 Nov 2013
Source:Bangor Daily News (ME) Author:Brogan, Beth Area:Maine Lines:54 Added:11/08/2013

PORTLAND, Maine - Two days after Portland police said they would "use their discretion" to enforce state law regarding possession of marijuana, the group that spearheaded passage of a new city ordinance legalizing recreational use of up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana said they expect police to yield to the will of the people.

On Tuesday, more than 67 percent of Portland voters approved of a new city ordinance to legalize possession of up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana in the city. The law will become effective on Dec. 6, 30 days after the vote.

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16 US ME: Proponents Of Legalizing Pot In Portland Move Closer To FallThu, 30 May 2013
Source:Bangor Daily News (ME) Author:Farwell, Jackie Area:Maine Lines:91 Added:06/01/2013

Tom MacMillan PORTLAND, Maine - A push to legalize recreational marijuana in Maine's largest city appears poised to go before Portland voters this fall.

A coalition of political groups and activists who want make possession of the drug legal for adults turned in a petition Thursday with more than 3,200 signatures, twice the 1,500 signatures needed to place the measure on the November ballot.

Led by the Portland Green Independent Committee, the coalition submitted the petition to city officials, paving the way for voters to weigh in on the citizen initiative this fall. The city has 15 days to review the signatures and certify the petition.

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17 US ME: Want To Promote Public Safety? End The War On MarijuanaSun, 07 Apr 2013
Source:Bangor Daily News (ME) Author:Frieling, Leonard Area:Maine Lines:83 Added:04/10/2013

In the history of the city of Lafayette, Colo., my resignation probably went down as one of the more memorable. I left my position as a municipal court judge in protest of a proposal to increase the penalties for marijuana possession in the city. Some people agreed with my stance, some disagreed, but I suspect the majority of people probably found it frivolous: Did this guy really give up such a powerful position just so he could smoke a doobie in the afternoon?

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18 US ME: PUB LTE: Prohibition Doesn't WorkFri, 05 Apr 2013
Source:Bangor Daily News (ME) Author:Wellcom, Steve Area:Maine Lines:49 Added:04/08/2013

This letter is in response to a March 29 column called " Marijuana legalization: An easy way out, " by Dr. Robert Q. Dana at the University of Maine. Dana apparently assumes drug prohibition keeps people from using drugs.

Drug prohibition does not keep people from using drugs. If anything, it facilitates drug use by turning distribution and sale over to drug dealers who will sell anything to anybody.

For at least the past 30 years, teens have reported that it is easier for them to get marijuana than alcohol. To buy alcohol you need to be of legal age and prove it. To buy marijuana all you need is money. We need legal regulated sale so we, not drug dealers, are in charge of distribution and sale.

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19 US ME: Sponsor of Bill Says Maine Will Legalize Marijuana, OneThu, 04 Apr 2013
Source:Bangor Daily News (ME) Author:Thistle, Scott Area:Maine Lines:161 Added:04/04/2013

AUGUSTA, Maine - A bill that would let Maine voters decide in a statewide referendum if the state should legalize marijuana for recreational use saw dozens of people testify before the Legislature's Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee on Friday.

Those who support the law change said prohibition doesn't work and the country's 30-year war on drugs has been a failure.

"As a fiscal conservative I'm very concerned about useless government programs that create waste and waste taxpayer dollars and increase the deficit," Ashley Ryan of Portland told the committee. Ryan is a national committeewoman for the Maine Republican Party.

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20 US ME: L-A Lawmakers Among 35 Co-Sponsors Of Bill To Legalize PotThu, 28 Mar 2013
Source:Bangor Daily News (ME) Author:Long, Robert Area:Maine Lines:90 Added:03/29/2013

Robert Long, Bangor Daily News Maine | Wednesday, March 27, 2013 at 4:20 pm AUGUSTA - A bill to legalize recreational use of marijuana and regulate it like alcohol in Maine has garnered 35 co-sponsors and now heads to a legislative committee hearing.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Diane Russell, D-Portland, would make major changes in Maine's drug law, ranging from making possession of up to 2.5 ounces of pot legal to imposing a tax of $50 per ounce. It was referred to the Legislature's Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee on Wednesday.

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