I sat down with proponent Luke Sirois to get at the ‘why yes?’ underbelly of such a contentious subject. He firmly believes in the health benefits of cannabis, it’s been proven to help with epilepsy, depression, anxiety while clinical trials are also proving its efficacy with preventing the spread of cancer. Some studies have shown it helps get people off addictive pain medication and offers a safe pain management source. He stands firm on the opinion that local regulation is an important component to have control of and that by providing for a regulated market it drives down the use of the black market and potential for poorly regulated and potentially dangerous products to end up in the hands of our youth. Finally, he will debate any portion of the proposed ordinance, he took proper steps allowed for by State law to have put before the people by petition. The right to petition allows citizens to express their ideas, hopes, and concerns to their government and their elected representatives. He states it offers regulations to safeguard the town without pushing the business into inability to exist. The short of it, he supports legal cannabis business and peoples ease of access to obtain it for both medicinal and recreational purposes.

Opponents are many and seem to come from one of two arenas with their gauntlets in hand. There is the group of people who will never be swayed to believe marijuana is anything more than a gateway drug, they will remain proponents of the just say no mindset until they draw their last breath. This camp seems to be the smaller of the two in this debate. Then there is the group that believes the process by which the question is being brought before the people has been handled improperly. They argue that the petition process should not be used for the purpose of an ordinance because the Town has an Ordinance Committee and a process in place for adopting ordinances. Others have argued that it’s all too new and we should wait to see how it plays out for other towns first before we opt in and more still seem to have concerns how those operating the business will be impacted by the presence of federal law enforcement in the area. If you have Facebook you’ve been privy to all sides of the argument as it has played out in the group Rangeley Local Political Forum.

The a and b side of it is as simple as this, the ordinance is being brought before the people by completely proper, legal, first amendment guaranteed means, regardless of your opinion on the subject matter. The language is much weaker in certain areas (please read that for what it says, in certain areas) than the extensive ordinance put before the people and turned down in June of this year and finally when Colorado legalized marijuana, the federal government issued guidelines that states with legal marijuana have to follow to avoid federal intervention.

We can debate anything to it’s death and each side can find supporting articles to make its point, so however you find yourself at the ballot box on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 between the open poll hours of 8 am to 8 pm may it be well educated and ready to make a decision that’s best for the Town.

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