31 December 2016
Here’s the press release in full
Oakland was one of the 2/3rds of Maine Towns where majority of voters said “No” to Question 1. Meanwhile, No On 1 says Maine needs more time to work out the implementation of Question 1.
Augusta – Mainers Protecting Our Youth and Communities (MPOYC), the organization that lead the effort against the legalization of marijuana, applauds the unanimous vote of the Oakland Town Council, banning retail pot shops and pot social clubs.
Question 1 only narrowly passed, by less than 4,000 votes or less than 0.5%, but the vast majority of Maine towns, two-thirds, saw a majority of its voters say “No” to Question 1. The vote by the Oakland Town Council reflects the will of Oakland voters, but more importantly, sets forth a powerful message for the youth of Oakland that the town places the values healthy youth and communities over the false promises from the out of state Big Marijuana forces.
“We expect Oakland is the first of many Maine communities that will listen to their voters and say “No” to pot shops and social clubs in downtowns and on Main Streets.” states MPOYC Chair Scott Gagnon. “Our coalition is actively engaged in supporting any and all communities looking to adopt similar ordinances or exploring moratoriums. As public health experts, we know the power of setting positive community norms in the ongoing efforts to combat and prevent youth substance use addiction. Oakland, through their vote, has set a community norm that the health of their youth is more important than a few extra dollars on the ledger.”
Meanwhile, with the State of Massachussetts just recently voting on a 6 month moratorium to push back its implementation date from January to July 2018, MPOYC calls for Maine lawmakers to adopts a similar measure here in the state. The coalition maintains there are many issues to grapple with when it comes to Question 1, particularly those concerning public health and the health of Maine youth.
“The reality is that our state and local systems are simply not prepared to regulate marijuana in a way that would truly protect our youth.” Gagnon stated. “There is a huge learning curve here for everyone involved and nine months simply is not enough time. We think this really requires two legislative sessions, to work out all of the details and loopholes. We must prioritize the health and safety of our communities over the interests of the marijuana industry.”
The Bangor Daily News reports that pro legalization organizations are not enamoured by these statements
But backers of the referendum said they’d oppose a moratorium. David Boyer, the Maine political director for the Marijuana Policy Project who managed the winning campaign, called the timeframe “achievable” for lawmakers and said opponents were trying to erect “roadblocks.”
Paul McCarrier, president of Legalize Maine, a group that drafted the legalization bill, called it “an insult to the Maine voters and spirit of the Maine Constitution” indicating that opponents have “no interest in working with the advocates for a better cannabis policy and continue to be obstructionist.”
With or without a delay, setting rules for implementation and tweaking law around the new recreational program will be one of the biggest challenges for the new Legislature.
Attorney General Janet Mills has submitted legislation to create a “Cannabis Advisory Commission” and Thibodeau said Wednesday that he supports a new joint select legislative committee to tackle recreational marijuana in the new year.
“That is a big, big change in the culture of our state and what’s acceptable, what isn’t,” he said.