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Let's talk politics.
First of all, I apologize for getting into politics on this blog. I try very hard to keep my personal opinion private, but I believe this is a very important and landmark issue effecting Mainers and the access to the medicine we worked so hard to have. I will try to explore both sides equally, to help you make an informed decision this November.

Legalize Maine

"Legalize Maine is an organization devoted to legalizing marijuana in a way that will provide economic benefit to the maximum number of Maine citizens in the form of jobs and economic development."
Legalize Maine is a group, led by Paul McCarrier who led the Citizens Initiative to put Legalization on the ballot this November. In 2015, There were two groups lobbying two separate bills. The other group was the CRMLA, or Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. Led by David Boyer, and backed my the nationwide MPP, or Marijuana Policy Project. These two groups combined forces in 2015 and were successful in gathering over the 61,000 necessary to get on the ballot. 

The vision is recreational legalization. We would join Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington State, and Washington D.C, making us the sixth state voting for recreational legalization. Here are some of the highlights of the bill.

-People ages 21 and over may possess up to 2.5oz and may grow up to 6 flowering females, 12 immature plants, and unlimited seedlings. 

-There will be 800,000sq/ft of "canopy space" dedicated for growing. 60% of that will be for over 3000sq/ft operations, with 40% going to smaller grows.


-Claiming to not effect the medical community already established in the state.


-Will create Sales shops, Lounges, Testing facilities, Etc..

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I'd love to see a Bud Lounge like this!
I feel safe to say a majority of readers want to see Cannabis legalized for recreational use. Cannabis being illegal makes criminals out of innocent people, and forces those people to deal with potentially dangerous individuals. The initiative offers Legalization for all, and increased access to Cannabis for everybody. Current caregivers that have participated in the medical program with over three patients for over a year will be given priority entering the recreational market.

On the other side...

There are many different groups in opposition of Legalize Maine. I'm going to highlight the caregivers, patients, and activists that are against the initiative, and why.

Since the momentum of the Legalize Maine initiative increased, so has the momentum of the opposition. Patients, caregivers, and residents are stepping up and speaking up against the bill. They warn to step back, and think about what is best for the people in our state. 

Why not legalize?
The concern that gets brought up most between the medical community is not if we should legalize recreational use, it is how we should do it. Legalize Maine offers the freedom from prosecution we all deserve, it does not offer the freedom of the plant it's self, keeping the right to produce and profit for a few. Lets do some math...


800,000sq/ft canopy space
60% over 3000 sqft, 40% 3000sqft and under
60% of 800,000 = 480,000sq/ft
40% of 800,000 =320,000sq/ft
320,000sq/ft divided by 3000 is 106.67.
480,000sq/ft divided by 30,000 is 16
122 Cultivation Liscenses


 If my numbers are right, the canopy space allotted leaves room for 122 possible producers in the state, if everybody uses the maximum space they are able to. I'm sure not everybody will use every square foot allotted, making room for more than 122. Currently, there are roughly 1000 caregivers operating in Maine. My first concern is how 120-200 cultivators will keep up with the recreational market. The first one in New England, to boot. 


Take a look at the other states...


The following excerpt taken from http://thecpc.org/:

Colorado

In February, Colorado’s Senate passed SB-14, increasing oversight on medical caregiver grows. Prior to SB-14, caregivers went largely unregulated. Product didn’t require testing, which triggered anxiety in an industry where regulations are king and safety is paramount. Public perception, after all, is everything. However, SB-14’s supporters were only partially concerned about quality control. During the senate hearing, lobbyists addressed black market cannabis as a consistent problem plaguing the legalization movement. Larisa Bolivar, former co-owner of Colorado’s first dispensary and current CEO of the Cannabis Consumers Coalition, attended the SB-14 hearing to defend caregivers. She said ever-fluctuating regulations unnecessarily drove caregivers into debt, and laws like SB 14 could legislate the system out of existence. But she added the dispensary vs. caregiver conflict wasn’t really the issue.

“It’s the fact that marijuana is still illegal federally and in surrounding states,” she said. “As long as there’s prohibition, there’s always incentive for a black market. It’s behavioral economics; it’s very simple.”

Washington

Washington State, the second state to legalize recreational use, is experiencing similar growing pains. SB-5052, which passed through the legislature in March, regulates the collective grow system much like Colorado’s SB-14. And just like Colorado, supporters of SB 5052 cited the black market and contaminated meds as causes for concern. The bill’s original text eliminated medical altogether, but after successful negotiations, the final version kept collectives in place—for now.
 
Jeremy Kaufman, owner of Absolute Oils and co-founder of The Center for Palliative Care in Washington, cautioned against business interests crafting laws against their competition. “Money is money,” he said. “It’s hard for a lot of small growers that are disenfranchised to lobby.”
Of course, medical collectives/caregivers don’t have to be at odds with “Big Marijuana.” This fight isn’t inevitable; it isn’t even necessary. Subsidizing medical grows from cannabis taxes could compromise low-cost access with big business profits.
 
“I would love to see legislation that allows money from tourists to funnel research to truly sick people,” Kaufman said. “That sounds like utopia.”.

What to make of all this?

I'm not going to tell you how to vote this fall. I believe it's your duty as a citizen to do your research, and be informed as to what you're voting for. We deserve to live our life without the fear of prosecution. We also deserve the best for the residents of the state. Caregivers are right to be worried about the future of the medical community. Patients are right to be worried about the Cannabis industry, and how this bill will change it. I'm concerned the limited amount of space available will be quickly accounted for, creating a legal monopoly controlling the cannabis market. The goal is to regulate marijuana like alcohol. We don't limit the amount of breweries in the state. If you abide by the law, and produce a quality product you can craft and sell your own beer, and make a living at it.  I wish to see the same for marijuana, and Legalize Maine does not provide adequate language to assure me of that. Because of that, I am voting NO in NOvember. 

I truly tried to stay as fair and balanced as possible. This isn't a political blog, but this issue is so tightly intertwined with the community we're in, we had to bring it up. I hope I didn't turn anybody away and strongly advise to further research the subject for yourself, before you vote one way or another. I've collected some helpful links for information to both sides of this argument. 

Legalize Maine
MPP
Compassionate Caregivers of Maine

You need to register for the forums, but many caregivers voice their opinions here.

Portland Press Herald



Stay informed. Stay educated. Don't vote for something you don't understand. No matter what way the votes fall this November, cannabis is out of the shadows. It's being talked about on a statewide and national level. Every step we take is a step forward for legalization, and the acceptance of our lifestyle. It's a long fight, and we will have a long way to go regardless. Thankfully next week I can go back to reviewing sweet flowers and not be so political.



Stay safe, stay medicated!
-Destin

 


Comments

Bossom
05/16/2016 10:45pm

Your math is correct on the licences issued of they were based on percentage of canopy space allotted. But if you read the initiative correctly, it states that 60% and 40% of LICENSES ISSUED. When those numbers are calculated it's 25 licenses @ 30k sqft= 750,000 and only 16 licenses @ 3k sqft = 48,000, plus 1 licenses @ 2k sq ft. So in total only 42 recreational grow licenses will be allowed

Reply
maine420
05/19/2016 6:10am

YES!! It's licenses not canopy. big difference.

Reply
09/10/2016 9:29am

While its therapeutic effects are not really backed up by extensive study, I still think it should be legalized. A lot of illegal business practices can be avoided if only they will legalize this herb. I have not heard of any harm done by someone who is using it. Alcohol and Nicotine are even more deadly. We all should consider just treating this like an ordinary plant.

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