In a pathetic attempt to persuade voters to go against an initiative aimed at legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes, Maine Governor Paul LePage emerged last week with a deceptive new video that suggests legal weed will lead to a barrage of roadway deaths and even kill children.
“Question 1 is not just bad for Maine, it can be deadly,” LePage claimed, right before spouting off some nonsense about how legal marijuana has contributed to a dramatic increase in traffic-related fatalities all across Colorado.
LePage then went on to try to convince viewers that people who use marijuana have a greater chance of becoming strung out casualties of heroin addiction.
“People addicted to marijuana are three times more likely to be addicted to heroin,” he said. “Heroin is already killing seven Mainers a week. We do not need to legalize another drug that could lead to more deaths.”
But perhaps the most nonsensical aspect of the video is when LePage begins to talk about how marijuana is three times stronger now than it was a few decades ago, going as far as to say that the THC levels of edible cannabis products are so high these days that “they could kill children and pets.”
LePage also suggests that legalization will bring about problems with public consumption.
“People will smoke marijuana in pot stores right next to schools, daycare centers and churches,” LePage continued. “They will smoke weed and sell pot at state fairs.”
The claims LePage attempts to make in the video are not accurate. In fact, most of them are complete fabrications.
Some of the latest data shows that marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington has not brought about any of the apocalyptic happenings that many naysayers predicted were destined to happen when retail pot shops opened their doors.
Last week, the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) published a report showing that while it is “too early to draw any line-in-the-sand conclusion about the effects of marijuana legalization,” there has been no increase in traffic fatalities and pot consumption among teenagers remains mostly unchanged. However, the DPA says that marijuana-related arrests are down, giving police more time to focus on violent crime, and both states have experienced a significant revenue boost—both in tax revenue and tourism.
Even the federal government does not agree with LePage’s claim that marijuana contributes to the heroin epidemic. Last month, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch told a crowd of high school students in Kentucky that marijuana is not a gateway to harder drugs.
“When we talk about heroin addiction, we unusually, as we have mentioned, are talking about individuals that started out with a prescription drug problem, and then because they need more and more, they turn to heroin. It isn’t so much that marijuana is the step right before using prescription drugs or opioids,” Lynch said.
LePage has become infamous for talking out of the side of his face when it comes to Maine’s drug problem. Earlier this year, he said the opioid epidemic had been brought on by drug dealers with names like “D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty,” who were coming into the state to sling dope and “impregnate a young, white girl before they leave.” A couple of months ago, LePage even suggested that most of the drug dealers arrested in Maine were either black or Latino, when the majority (60 percent) of those busted for this offense are actually white.
Maine State Representative Diane Russell, who supports marijuana legalization, told the Huffington Post that she believe LePage’s video might actually ensure the success of Question 1.
“It is right out of ‘The Boy Who Cried Wolf,’” Russell said. “If you keep telling lies or propaganda, eventually when you need them to hear the truth they are just not going to believe you. The magical thing he did is he took all the bullshit from the 1980s on and put it in one video.”
NOTE: By the time this article was published, Governor LePage had removed his video on Question 1 from his Facebook page.
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