The Maine Chiefs of Police Association has formally announced its opposition to Question 1 on the November ballot, which would legalize the recreational use of marijuana, pointing to the problems experienced in another state.
Most chiefs say their jobs were made more difficult by Maine’s legalization of medical marijuana and that allowing recreational use would pose a whole host of new problems.
Lt. John Kilbride of the Falmouth Police Department has developed an educational campaign for local use by police across the state. Through speaking engagements and social media, he urges Maine voters to consider what has happened in Colorado since that state legalized pot four years ago.
“Letting them know how this is going affect their youth, their schools, the emergency rooms, the roads they walk and ride their bikes on. The limited resources that we have to manage this. We are just not ready as a law enforcement entity to handle all the problems that Colorado is experiencing,” he said.
But Alysia Melnick of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol said the police are mistaken in their opposition to the proposal.
“The Maine chiefs of police are important members of our community, but on this policy they are wrong. Regulating and making marijuana legal for adults is working in other states. Youth access and use of marijuana has not gone up,” she said.
Melnick argues that additional tax revenue would be generated under the proposal and that the entire criminal justice system would be spared the cost and effort of arresting and prosecuting marijuana users.
This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public Broadcasting Network.