I had not intended to wade into the debate on marijuana, but after reviewing Question 1 last month, I shared my legal analysis with a reporter. Apparently, I struck a nerve.

Like many Mainers, I listened to campaign rhetoric saying that if this bill passed, marijuana would be regulated like alcohol. In an opinion column (“Question 1 reveals the real dangers of marijuana,” Oct. 19), Greg Kesich reiterates this view. However, while that may be the goal of the proponents, it is not what the bill actually does.

Nothing in the referendum regulates possession of marijuana by a minor, and the bill even repeals the existing section of law that does.

There are a number of laws that prohibit minors from possessing alcohol or driving after consuming any alcohol, but these protections are lacking in Question 1.

To say that this referendum regulates marijuana like alcohol is to imagine a world where words in lawbooks have no meaning.

That is not the world in which I operate.

The drafters of this bill have not explained why the proposed law fails to protect children, why it greatly expands the definition of cannabis, why it lacks penalties or why it fails to protect the workplace the way the Maine Medical Marijuana Act does.

Perhaps these are drafting errors, but as attorney general I would be remiss if I did not point out these flaws. If passed, the law will take effect 30 days from the governor’s proclamation, giving a new Legislature little time to act.

Regardless of whether marijuana should be legal (Maine decriminalized possession of small amounts 40 years ago), the question is whether this 30-page bill should become law.

I ask every citizen to read the entire bill before voting on this measure.


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