Faceless profiteers



To the Editor:

In November, Maine residents will be asked to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. There already are many confusing messages in circulation. Please keep the facts in mind.

Maine already taxes and regulates cannabis. We already have the best system in the U.S. for medical patients, and with a few changes, it could be the best, most discreet system for all adult consumers.

This vote represents a major economic decision for Maine. Do we keep our diversified, small-scale, local production? Or do we move to huge investor-owned industrial grows? Do we keep it local and recirculate our cash in the local economy? Or do we hand our wealth over to faceless profiteers?

Our choice is one of empowering Maine’s local economies or running a trade deficit for this agricultural commodity.

Under the proposed regulations, there would be approximately 120 huge grows. This would put most Maine marijuana caregivers out of business or transform them from small business owners into minimum-wage employees. There are more than 3,000 independent registered primary caregivers in Maine. They come from all walks of life, many from traditional Maine industries that have been shedding jobs. They are all genuine business owners – local success stories who might otherwise be unemployed.

The police won’t enjoy any budget reductions, because there will still be many punishable offenses under the proposed laws. No cannabis cultivation will be allowed within 25 miles of a dispensary. It’s a non-competition clause for corporations that will turn many Mainers into criminals.

A “no” vote will retain the discrete, effective distribution system that we already enjoy. It will support Maine families and communities by keeping hard-earned cash circulating in the local economy. The bill to legalize is nothing more than a permission slip for big money to walk away with Maine’s pie.

Please vote “no” and then lobby your representative to make effective changes to our current system. Raise the patient minimum to 15. Keep an inexpensive medical screening process in place to assure safety but largely drop the small group of accepted medical conditions. Make it easy for tourists to access our system by way of the dispensaries. These simple changes would quietly throw open the doors to greater opportunity.

Maine can do it better!

Robert Orzel

Acadia Horticultural Services

Ellsworth

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