Myth vs. Reality

MYTH: Question 1 will destroy the medical marijuana program.

REALITY: NO! Question 1 will not make changes to the medical program. It will not make changes to how caregivers operate. It will INCREASE access to medical marijuana in Maine. If you don’t believe us – READ THE INITIATIVE! There has been a lot of misinformation on this issue, but the facts are very clear.  Question 1 doesn’t change Maine’s medical program, or diminish, in any way, the rights of patients, caregivers or dispensary operators.  Question 1 recognizes the interests, skills and contributions of Mainers who have been providing medicine to patients as caregivers and dispensary operators by giving them preference in licensing should they choose to enter the separate non-medical adult use market.  And with the lowest licensing fees in the nation, Question 1 seeks to reduce barriers for Maine people and small Maine farmers.

Sec 2454: Construction

  1. Relation to the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act. This chapter may not be construed to limit any privileges or rights of a qualifying patient, primary caregiver, registered or otherwise, or registered dispensary under the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act.

 

MYTH: Question 1 will allow big corporations to take over medical marijuana.

REALITY: Again, this is simply not true. The initiative establishes a cap on how big a cultivator can be, which will discourage big business. Question 1 also gives first preference to Maine caregivers.  The bill limits maximum cultivation at 30,000 sq. ft. and limits licenses to one per individual or entity. These limits will discourage large agribusinesses who won’t want to be bothered with the relatively small cultivation allowance and license limits, and will keep them out of Maine.  Total cultivation is initially capped in order to comply with the Department of Justice Cole memo and avoid being challenged by the federal government, but this cap can be lifted by the legislature after the first year if demand within Maine exceeds and available supply.

 

MYTH: Question 1 is funded by the marijuana industry.

REALITY: Question 1’s main donors have been the Marijuana Policy Project, a political non-profit organization, New Approach PAC, a political non-profit organization, and Rick Steves, a well-known travel guide. All three are committed to ending the failed policy of marijuana prohibition and have no interest in starting marijuana businesses in Maine. Question 1 has also received more donations from Maine people than both No campaigns combined and all staff working in Maine to pass Question 1 are Maine residents committed to rational drug policy that ends criminalization of adults for their choice to use cannabis, opens access to all who could benefit medicinally and creates jobs in this burgeoning industry throughout the state.  The language of the bill was written by Maine people, in consultation with Mainers from Fort Kent to York. Maine people put it on the ballot, and it will be Mainers voting to approve it on November 8th. On the other hand, No campaigns across the country are fueled by casinos, big pharma and alcohol companies.

The simple fact is this: Question 1 is funded by organizations and individuals who believe in ending the failed policy of marijuana prohibition. The marijuana industry is not funding this campaign.

 

MYTH: Question 1 will add to our opioid crisis.

REALITY: Question 1 will help us address our opioid crisis. It will provide greater access for Maine patients seeking to use medical marijuana to treat chronic pain and other conditions, thereby avoiding opioids in the first place and will allow those struggling with addiction to opioids to use marijuana to reduce and even eliminate their dependence. Today, it is illegal for doctors and health care providers in Maine to use medical marijuana as a means to address the opioid crisis and the state just last year rejected a petition to add opioid addiction to the list of approved conditions. Yes on 1 will correct that. At the same time, it will also generate tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue that can be used to fund substance abuse prevention and treatment programs, as it has in other states that have legalized marijuana for adults.

 

MYTH: There is no urgency, marijuana’s already “decriminalized” in Maine

REALITY: While possession of 2.5 ounces of marijuana or less is currently a civil offense, thousands of Mainers each year face serious, lifelong consequences from marijuana citations–including barriers to housing, employment and student loans. Nearly nine million dollars and thousands of police hours are wasted going after thousands of otherwise law abiding adults.  Over 80% of marijuana arrests in Maine are for possession only and half of all drug related arrests for marijuana offenses.  It’s time to stop criminalizing our citizens for possession of marijuana and, instead, create a thoughtful, regulated system of legitimate businesses and allow home grow.

 

MYTH: Question 1 will allow kids to access marijuana due to a legal technicality.

REALITY: Just read the initiative. It is crystal clear on this point.

“Do you want to allow the possession and use of marijuana under state law by persons who are at least 21 years of age, and allow the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, testing, and sale of marijuana and marijuana products subject to state regulation, taxation and local ordinance?”

It is regrettable that the Maine Attorney General is spreading misinformation about this issue

 

MYTH:  Landlords won’t be able to prohibit smoking marijuana on their premises. 

REALITY:  A landlord can continue to designate a rental as “non-smoking” for marijuana in the same way they can prohibit tobacco smoking.

 

MYTHQuestion 1 will interfere with employers’ rights to maintain a drug free workplace

REALITY: No. Question 1 doesn’t change Maine employers’ rights to require a drug free workplace or that require employees to be sober at work.  Maine will continue to be an “employment at will” state.  This means that without a contract you do not have the right to get a job or keep a job. It is not illegal for an employer to ask about your criminal history or require drug testing. But the initiative does prohibit discrimination “solely” on the basis of an employee’s use of marijuana outside of the workplace in order to protect employees from political retaliation or bias based solely on use of marijuana outside of work. This, however, in no way prohibits an employer from firing an employee due to poor performance, suspicion of or actual impairment on the job, or for any other reason.  (Section 2454.2)

 

MYTH: Question 1 doesn’t allow adults to grow their own marijuana.

REALITY: Home grow is a centerpiece of Question 1. All Mainers 21 and over will have the right to cultivate marijuana. Marijuana can be expensive, and we believe you should be able to grow your own – just like you can brew your own beer or grow your own tomatoes. Under Question 1, all adults will have the right to cultivate unlimited seedlings, 12 immature plants and six flowering marijuana plants at home and keep whatever is grown from those plants. Question 1 will give Mainers the most consumer friendly home grow regulations of any state in the nation. Question 1 will INCREASE access to medical marijuana and to home cultivation by Maine adults 21 and over. There has been a lot of misinformation on this issue, but the facts are very clear. You can read the initiative here.  Relevant portions pasted below.

§2452. Personal use of marijuana

1. Person 21 years of age or older.

A person 21 years of age or older may:

A. Use, possess or transport marijuana accessories and up to 2 1/2 ounces of prepared marijuana;

B. Transfer or furnish, without remuneration, up to 2 1/2 ounces of marijuana and up to 6 immature plants or seedlings to a person who is 21 years of age or older;

C. Possess, grow, cultivate, process or transport up to 6 flowering marijuana plants, 12 immature plants and unlimited seedlings, and possess all the marijuana produced by the plants at the adult’s residence;

D. Purchase up to 2 1/2 ounces of retail marijuana and marijuana accessories from a retail marijuana store; and  

E. Purchase up to 12 seedlings or immature plants from a retail marijuana cultivation facility.

2. Home cultivation. The following provisions apply to the home cultivation of marijuana for personal use by a person who is 21 years of age or older.

A. A person may cultivate up to 6 flowering marijuana plants at that person’s place of residence, on property owned by that person or on another person’s property with written permission of the owner of the property.

B. A person who elects to cultivate marijuana shall ensure the marijuana is not visible from a public way without the use of binoculars, aircraft or other optical aids and shall take reasonable precautions to prevent unauthorized access by a person under 21 years of age.

3. Legible tag on each marijuana plant. A person 21 years of age or older must have a legible tag on each marijuana plant. The tag must include at least the person’s name and Maine driver’s license number or Maine identification number.

4. Exemptions. The following exemptions apply.

A. Marijuana cultivation for medical use is not considered cultivation for personal use under this chapter and is governed by Title 22, section 2423-A. B. This section does not apply to cultivation by a registered dispensary licensed pursuant to Title 22, section 2428.

Sec 2454: Construction

1.   Relation to the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act. This chapter may not be construed to limit any privileges or rights of a qualifying patient, primary caregiver, registered or otherwise, or registered dispensary under the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act.

 

MYTH: Question 1 will create  per se marijuana OUI limit based on THC levels.

REALITY:  Question 1 leaves all impaired driving laws as is. Maine currently does not have a nanogram blood level limit in the law, and Question 1 would not create one. The Maine legislature last year rejected imposing such a limit and, regardless of what happens on November 8th, is likely to continue to consider similar measures now that there is increased awareness and advocacy among law enforcement. Like many other issues facing the marijuana industry in Maine, stakeholders will need to continue to speak to their legislators about the lack of scientific support and serious justice and civil liberties problems associated with these kinds of tests.

 

MYTH: Maine can wait for another opportunity to make marijuana legal

REALITY: For those who want to wait for the perfect bill, know this: if Question 1 fails, we’re not likely to see another legalization initiative with legs until the next presidential election – in four years. The legislature will see voters’ rejection as reason not to approve any legalization bills – and certainly none that are less restrictive. And because of the cost and people-power it takes to mount a signature gathering and initiative campaign, Maine citizens will likely wait until the presidential to have the best chance at success. By then, Maine will have lost out on the opportunity to be first in the Northeast with an adult use market, foregoing jobs throughout the state and revenue. And by then, 6,800 more Maine adults will have picked up citations and records for marijuana possession – that will interfere with their ability to get jobs, housing and student loans

Legalization has created thousands of new jobs in the industry throughout Colorado and brought $135 million into the state’s coffers.  Think about what it could do for Maine.