FREEPORT, Maine (NEWS CENTER) – Police chiefs from across Maine came together today to announce their opposition to the legalization of marijuana for recreational use.
Voters will decide the issue when they go to the polls in November. It is Question number 1 on the statewide ballot.
The police chiefs say they are launching a statewide education program to point out the dangers of passing Question 1. They will use their department’s social media pages over the next few weeks to get their message out.
“This plan will increase access to a harmful and addictive illegal drug”, said Falmouth Police Chief Ed Tolan.
Police Chiefs say their departments are not equipped to handle the problems associated with legalized marijuana. Problems the state of Colorado has experienced since it was legalized there a few years ago.
“Fatal accidents and impaired drivers under the influence of marijuana and emergency room admissions have significantly increased”, said Tolan.
The chiefs say they’re also concerned about the impact wider access to marijuana will have on young people. But while marijuana use in Colorado has increased among adults, public health officials there report use among teens has not.
“Youth access or use has not gone up at all. They’re having success bringing marijuana off the street corner and out of the hands of drug dealers”, said Alysia Melnick of Yes on Question 1.
Melnick says by legalizing and regulating marijuana, it will bring in tax dollars for the state and will actually make it safer. She says she’s not surprise by the stance of the police chiefs
“What we’re more concerned with is what the people of Maine think and what we know is the people of Maine are ready for this”, she said.
In a few weeks, the Maine Sheriff’s Association will be meeting to decide what stance members will be taking.
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