No on One: Maine needs legalization, but not like this

HERMON, Maine -- 10/06/2016 -- The recreational legalization proposal in Question 1 on Maine’s 2016 ballot doesn’t explicitly change that system: It would allow Mainers to possess 2.5 ounces of marijuana while giving the state regulatory power over the new recreational market, built on a canopy limit of 800,000 square feet statewide, with 40 percent set aside for grows of 3,000 square feet or less and with existing caregivers and dispensaries getting first priority for licenses. Micky Bedell | BDN


I believe really strongly that pot should be legal.

It’s ridiculous to punish adults for doing something harmless in the privacy of their own homes.

Marijuana’s much safer than alcohol and cigarettes.

You can’t overdose. The worst thing that can happen is that you take one bong hit too many and end up glued to the couch, watching nature documentaries for a few hours.

Prohibition didn’t work in the twenties, and it works even worse today.

Keeping marijuana illegal means that, across the country, hundreds of thousands of people go to prison on nonviolent drug offenses while vicious cartels reap huge profits.

Sooner or later, we’ve got to legalize it.

But, while I think marijuana should be totally legal, I’m also fairly certain that if Question One fails, there will be another attempt, and another, and another until something finally breaks through.

Growing and selling weed is just that profitable.

Which means that the question in front of us is not whether or not marijuana should be legal – of course it should be – the question is how should the new legal industry operate?

Personally, I just don’t trust the Marijuana Policy Project, the group that’s funding the campaign in favor of Question One.

I did some snooping around as to who’s on their Board of Directors, and it’s just what I suspected.

There’s nothing grassroots here.

These people are the evil empire.

One board member, Frayda Levy, also serves on the board of Americans for Prosperity, the group that Charles and David Koch set up to pursue their corporate takeover of the United States.

Tripp Keber, the CEO of Dixie Brands Inc., one of the biggest marijuana corporations in the country, is another MPP board member.  I bet he salivates when he thinks about the profits he could be making here in the Pine Tree State.

Meanwhile, a number of Maine community activists, including many who believe strongly that marijuana should be completely legal, have come out strongly against the measure.

“The initiative creates a cumbersome government contract process,” says Hillary Lister, former director of the Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine.

The proposed process, says Lister, will “award limited licenses for industrial marijuana operations, favoring large out-of-state investors.”

It’s easy to see why people like Levy and Keber would be driving the measure. As large scale multinational investors, Question One would stack the deck in their favor.

We can do better.

As I see it, there’s no rush here.

Maine already has a medical marijuana program, which allows local Mainers to grow, process and sell cannabis.  The program’s already generating millions of dollars every year in registration fees and taxes.

A couple years ago, the industry trade group Americans For Safe Access even gave Maine’s medical marijuana program the highest score out of 35 states with some kind of medical cannabis law.

Once we open our doors, and the big dogs behind the MPP set up their industrial scale operations here, however, there’s no hitting rewind.

We did medical right. We only get one chance to get recreational right. Let’s not trample over Maine’s small growers.

Instead, let’s continue to exercise caution.

Let’s do the next right thing.

This isn’t it.

I’m voting NO on Question One, and I encourage you to do so as well.


To read the legislation and find out more about why so many local community activists in Maine are opposing it, check out the No on One campaign’s website:

Rob Korobkin

About Rob Korobkin

Rob is a software engineer, community organizer, teacher and musician. He can often be found at Peloton Labs, staring at his laptop, drafting diatribes and programming software late into the night.