By the slimmest of margins – less than half a percent – Maine voters last November approved a referendum legalizing recreational marijuana. But L.D. 1650, the bill regulating marijuana that was recently approved by the Legislature, puts pot profiteers over public health in Maine and, among other things, would let kids enter pot shops and pot-smoking clubs. That’s not what Mainers voted for, and Gov. LePage was right to veto it. We now urge the Legislature to sustain his veto.

The language in the bill bears the stamp of the pot industry. The provision in the current bill about youth is telling. Under its terms, youth may not enter “restricted access areas” of pot stores and social clubs, but the bill does not completely prohibit them from entering the premises. If the industry really does not want youth to access marijuana, why leave such a gray area?

The bill puts a moratorium on “marijuana social clubs” until 2019. That may seem like a good step, but why should we allow them at all? Unlike cigarettes, marijuana intoxicates. Unlike alcohol, marijuana stays in your system for weeks – and Colorado forensic toxicologist and researcher Sarah Urfer has found that impairment lasts far longer than the peak THC level does. And many of those club patrons will get behind the wheel high, regardless of operating-under-the-influence laws.

Further, because of Maine’s restrictive smoking laws, pot users will primarily consume high-potency edibles, waxes and oils. Many of these products can intoxicate far more and for far longer than a joint. It’s far safer to have people consume at home.

Perhaps worst of all, the Marijuana Advisory Commission – the body providing guidance and recommendations about marijuana regulations – has two seats reserved for the industry, but no seats for public health or addiction prevention. This is like letting Philip Morris and RJ Reynolds set tobacco policy, but shutting out addiction experts.

And therein lies the problem with marijuana legalization: It isn’t about personal choice – it is about massive commercialization and normalization. Promoting pot is a bad idea for Maine’s future. Today’s pot, with its concentrated formulations, is 10 to 50 times stronger than the marijuana of the past. Kids are rejecting joints, because they are now targeted by purveyors of brightly colored candies, cookies, ice creams and 99 percent THC “dabs” – concentrates that are vaporized for maximum effect. The sale of today’s more-potent pot and enticing pot products is legal under Maine’s marijuana law.

To make matters worse, research ties sustained marijuana use with loss of IQ, dropping out of school, absenteeism and truancy at work and increased risk of involvement in a car crash. In Colorado, there are more marijuana shops than Starbucks and McDonald’s combined – all driven by special interests in the state capital. Do we really want that here in Maine?

Furthermore, marijuana would change the environment of our great state. This is why farmers in California are filing lawsuits to prevent stinky, crime-attracting industrial marijuana farms from invading their rural landscape. And cities from Colorado and Oregon to Massachusetts and Alaska are banning retail marijuana stores to prevent Main Street from being taken over by the stench of highly potent THC and the neighborhood nuisances that surround them. In fact, many Mainers came to the hearing on the recreational-marijuana regulations to testify about these very kinds of neighborhood disturbances because of the provisions of the 2016 marijuana referendum that have already gone into effect.

Marijuana legalization is a bad idea. But if the marijuana referendum is to be implemented, here are some minimum standards for marijuana that anyone who cares about public health and safety should demand from state lawmakers.

As noted above, social clubs should be scrapped. To avoid loopholes, pot shops must be medical or retail, not both.

 There should be a large buffer between pot shops and anywhere kids congregate – schools, parks, libraries, etc.

 Just like we have for tobacco, we should prohibit any TV, radio, print, internet advertising, coupons, samples or “giveaways.”

Finally, the Marijuana Advisory Commission should scrap the seats given to the pot industry and swap them for two seats for youth substance abuse prevention experts.

We thank Gov. LePage for slowing this process down with his veto of this reckless bill. Given the close vote last fall, it is clear the majority of Mainers would support an approach that puts health, safety and families first – and not Big Marijuana, our version of Big Tobacco. It’s time for Maine legislators to honor this: They should sustain the veto and then get to work fixing these issues.