We disagree with your recent editorial supporting Question 1.

I am currently president of the Maine Medical Association, consisting of over 4,000 Maine physicians and physicians-in-training. In furtherance of our mission to protect public health, we urge voters to oppose Question 1.

Surveys of our member physicians show most oppose the ballot question, which would allow unrestricted recreational use of marijuana. The MMA’s position mirrors those of the Maine Hospital Association, the Maine Public Health Association and the Maine Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Maine laws decriminalize possession and allow use of marijuana for medical purposes. Maine’s medical marijuana law has an extensive list of conditions allowing patients to possess marijuana. We’d like to see studies of how these patients are doing before opening the floodgates.

We believe Question 1 will further destigmatize marijuana for adolescents and lead to risky behavior. Studies have concluded that heavy marijuana use by teenagers can lead to decreased intelligence, motivation and judgment. Attorney General Janet Mills’ announcement that Question 1 removes the legal prohibition against minors possessing marijuana bolsters our opinion that the proposal will result in unintended consequences.

Legalizing marijuana will legitimize use of more mind-altering substances when Maine is in the midst of an epidemic of drug overdose deaths, confusing the public at a time when communities are working hard to combat the problem.

Question 1 will also permit “pot bars” where marijuana can be consumed. Who would want our communities to look like those in Colorado, with cannabis stores on many street corners?

Rather than encouraging the use of drugs, let’s ask why so many Mainers can’t get through the day without alcohol, marijuana or other drugs and put resources into the prevention and treatment of substance use disorders.

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