While a national cannabis advocacy group works to bring down the beast of prohibitionary times for every adult citizen in the state of Maine, proponents for medical use have chosen to fight the organizers of this all-important mission rather than tender their support because they believe that full legalization will breed the evils of Big Marijuana.
When representatives for the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol showed up at the Secretary of State’s office in Augusta on Monday to deliver over 100,000 signatures supporting their initiative aimed at legalizing recreational herb, members of the medical sector, who seem to oppose the concept of anyone other than “patients” being allowed to freely use cannabis, were waiting along the sidelines to aggressively persecute the group for wanting to tax and regulate weed in a manner similar to beer.
As campaign manager David Boyer and his team unloaded a U-Haul truck full of petitions signed by supporters hoping to vote on the issue of ending pot prohibition in the November election, a “small but loud” group of protestors relinquished all class by calling them names like “scumbag” and other colorful vulgarities, according to the Portland Press Herald.
Although full legalization would eliminate the criminal penalties associated with the cultivation and possession of the cannabis plant, preventing thousands of people every year from seeing the inside of a jail cell, many growers and dispensaries within the medical sector are against this reform because they are worried that a recreational market will drive them out of business. Some argue that full legalization would completely destroy Maine’s medical marijuana program by welcoming in big corporations, and commercializing a system intended to provide relief for patients—not get people stoned.
Implying that it was, in fact, the medical marijuana community’s own greed that spearheaded the protest, one grower told the Herald that it only makes sense that they would demonstrate against the group’s attempt to bring down prohibition “to save an industry that has belonged to us for a very long time.”
However, the initiative supporters hope to pass in the forthcoming election would offer a wealth of benefits that the state’s current medicinal program fails to provide.
Instead of allowing roughly only 17,000 patients to have access to medical marijuana, the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol would give all of the state’s adult residents, as well as visitors, the freedom to purchase marijuana in a manner that not only supports the local and state economies, but prevents responsible adults from going to jail simply because they enjoy smoking pot.
Also, organizers maintain that the recreational proposal does nothing to cripple those businesses involved with the medical sector because the initiative “gives preference to those involved in the medical marijuana industry right now of going into the adult use market.”
Furthermore, creating a marijuana industry that caters to the interests of an entire population rather than only the sick provides many opportunities for working class communities to flourish, while also continuing to put medicine in the hands of patients in need.
"This initiative will replace the underground marijuana market with a tightly controlled system of legitimate, taxpaying businesses that create good jobs for Maine residents," Boyer told HIGH TIMES a statement. "It will also make Maine safer by allowing enforcement officials to spend more time addressing serious crimes instead of enforcing failed marijuana prohibition laws."
Ultimately, the intentions behind the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol is to create an atmosphere that resembles Colorado, where the latest reports show that arrests for marijuana possession are down, as is violent crime, not to mention the state is benefiting from substantial tax revenue, which is expected to hit the $125 million mark in the 2015 fiscal year.
Mike Adams is a contributing writer for HIGH TIMES. You can follow him on Twitter @adamssoup and on Facebook.com/mikeadams73.
(Photos Courtesy of CannabisCulture.com)