Now that the voters of the state of Maine have expressed their desire at the ballot box to legalize the sale and distribution of marijuana (as have California, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Colorado, Washington state, Alaska and the District of Columbia), there still remains an important conflict in these laws.

Along with hundreds, if not thousands, of other Mainers, I make my living as a merchant seaman and as such, I am required by federal law to subject myself to random, unannounced urinalysis drug screens. Refusing the test is an automatic suspension of my federal license.

If I take the test, any substance found that is illegal by federal standards is an automatic forfeiture of my federal seaman’s license. As of this writing, no federally elected official from the aforementioned states has sponsored legislation to federally decriminalize the use of marijuana.

The motto of the state of Maine is Dirigo, Latin for “I lead.” At what point can I expect my federal representatives to come to the forefront and sponsor a bill that addresses this conflict, which relates not only to my profession, but also to all other jobs in Maine that undergo federally mandated drug testing?

I think it is a question that must be addressed before any individual becomes a victim in the crosshairs.

Daniel M. Milligan


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