Letters to the editor, June 8, 2017

Urges no vote on marijuana ban

To the editor:

Vote NO ​China Marijuana Ban​, not for why you think.​

On June 13, town of China voters will get to vote on Question 1 “Shall an Ordinance entitled, ‘Ordinance Prohibiting Retail Marijuana Establishments and Retail Marijuana Social Clubs in the Town of China’ be Enacted.” ​But beware, there is far more to this ordinance than retail sales and/or social clubs.​

If you read the details of the ordinance itself, you will find in Section 3 that it is an overly broad prohibition that includes not only a ban on retail marijuana establishments and social clubs, but also on retail and wholesale cultivation, manufacturing and testing facilities in town.

For example, this ordinance would ban the retail establishment of a medical marijuana dispensary in China.

It’s no longer about getting high as in the ‘60s & ‘70s by “smoking a joint.” Medical marijuana has been found to contain components including CBD which have proven medical value. Also, there are many ways to consume it that do not include smoking it.

I’m not a pot smoker, yet I have met many people who have received great benefit from medical marijuana including chronic back pain, hip replacements and cancer survivors. The more I meet people who have benefited from medical marijuana, the more I am convinced of its importance for many people’s health care. Ideally, one would work with a local licensed medical marijuana caregiver to understand what is best for them.

Also, this ban would not allow local farmers to cultivate marijuana, even if they grew only the medicinal CBD strains.

The select board did not recommend a Yes or No vote on Question 1.

I recommend that China voters vote NO on this poorly written ban.

The issue of social clubs and other issues can be addressed in a more accurate future ordinance.

Bob OConnor
South China

Marijuana question too vague

To the editor:

This letter is written in hopes that you will vote “No” on the China Ballot Question on Marijuana this June 13. I believe that the selectboard, in an excess of caution, has put this prohibition of “all commercial marijuana” activity on the ballot prematurely, and as a poorly worded question which will give rise to legal difficulties for the town.

The state legislature is continuing to work on the myriad details that need to be clarified to make the new legalization of recreational marijuana function adequately in Maine. They are being cautious. Realizing that social clubs have not been implemented in other states, the state is reportedly considering a separate moratorium on social clubs that will run into 2019 or later. Given the political climate this seems wise. The town does not need to act independently to safe guard itself from this new aspect of recreational marijuana.

The new recreational legalization legislation includes provision for a limited number of licenses to be issued by the state for small commercial growers, and a separate limited number of licenses for large commercial growers. Our vote for a moratorium on June 13 will mean that not one of the farms in our town will have the right to apply to be a “small grower.” This seems unfair to me.

The regulations that are being drafted by the state for the retail outlets for the legal recreational marijuana will be complex. But again a total ban on all retail in the town of China seems premature. I would gladly support a moratorium to run well into 2018 so that we have the ability to fully understand how any of the aspects of this new law will affect us. But I do not support, at this premature time, a ban on all things commercial. The proposed ban is too broad and too unclear as to what is covered and what is not covered. It does a disservice to many citizens in our town who might be good small business people. We could better address the uncertainties of this new law in November after we have more answers as to how it will be implemented by the state.

Joann Clark Austin
China citizen and selectman

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