LEWISTON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Two weeks from today, voters in South Portland and Lewiston will have their voices heard on ordinances that would legalize the use and possession of marijuana by adults 21 and over. The ordinances are similar to one passed by voters in Portland last fall.

While marijuana remains illegal in Maine and federally, there is a growing movement to legalize the drug for recreational use. Voters in Washington and Colorado have already approved measures legalizing marijuana, and residents of Alaska, Oregon and the District of Columbia will vote on legalization in November.

Today, business leaders in Lewiston had a chance to hear first-hand about Colorado’s experience with legalization. Bob Doyle, Executive Director of the Colorado Tobacco Education and Prevention Alliance, says there have been increases in hospitalizations, auto fatalities, hash oil explosions and marijuana usage among youth. He believes the move was a mistake, saying the costs outweigh any economic gains made through taxation and regulation.

“Societal costs are always much greater than the revenue a community or a state is going to make,” said Doyle.

“What we are seeing is mass commercialization,” he added. “That is what legalization is about. It is not about social justice, it is not about protecting the health and the safety of our communities, it is about the mass commercialization of marijuana.”

He says one of the biggest concerns in Colorado are the way edible products, which contain marijuana, are being made targeting kids.

“What we are seeing is they are mass producing child-like products; marijuana gummy bears, cupcakes and soda,” said Doyle.

David Boyer, Maine Political Director for the Marijuana Policy Project, says there have been some bumps in the road in Colorado, but believes Mainers can learn from …read more