As a strong supporter of civil liberties, I usually agree with the ACLU, whose mission is synonymous with protecting those rights. I am therefore surprised by that organization’s endorsement of Question 1, which would legalize recreational use of marijuana, for reasons that are a stretch, at best (Maine Voices, Oct. 5).

ACLU of Maine Executive Director Alison Beyea argues that our nation’s “war on drugs” is a failure and has taken a terrible toll on our society. She is certainly correct about this.

However, the “war” today is primarily directed against the distribution, sale and possession of hard drugs, like the opiates that are now devastating Maine communities. In her support for marijuana legalization, she indiscriminately uses data applicable to all illegal drugs on the streets – such as the shocking number of people behind bars or the huge resources used – as if they applied solely to marijuana interdiction and arrests.

Moreover, Ms. Beyea ignores the very real harm that marijuana causes, particularly when used by young people. Although the referendum would not allow sales to those under 21, its increased availability would surely make its way to minors.

The science is clear that the brains of those under 25 are still developing, and that regular use of marijuana not only does permanent neurological damage to the young, but also interferes with their work and academic performance.

For all users, driving while intoxicated is a danger to all on the road

Finally, marijuana remains illegal under federal law, and although the current administration has chosen not to use its resources to enforce all these laws, under a different president this might well change.

As a state representative, I voted against legislation to legalize recreational use of marijuana, and I continue to oppose it now.