On Nov. 4, Lewiston voters will be faced with the question of whether or not to legalize recreational marijuana in the city. It is an important decision for voters to make and one with profound consequences for the future of Lewiston.

In my view, legalizing recreational marijuana is not right for Lewiston’s future. Numerous studies on marijuana clearly show the effects it has on youth and public health.

Studies have established that marijuana use in the teen years creates problems with attention, learning and memory. It then comes as no surprise that research indicates teens engaged in marijuana use struggle academically.

The science is also clear that one in six teens who start using marijuana will become addicted and struggle with that addiction into adulthood.

Simply put, marijuana keeps our teens from doing their best and achieving their dreams.

The experience with alcohol and tobacco makes it clear that an age limit of 18 or 21 isn’t enough to keep kids from using. The normalization and increased availability that would come along with legalized marijuana would put more youth at risk. As this community is engaged in initiatives to reduce youth access to alcohol and tobacco, it would be inconsistent to take marijuana policies in the opposite direction.

It is for those reasons that I will be voting “no” on Lewiston’s Question 2 — for the future of our youth and the future of Lewiston.

Janice O’Brien, Lewiston

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