Everyone knows what pain is like. Those of us who have the access and resources for legal medication and counseling don’t worry about taking a pill to make some pain go away, nor are we afraid of being arrested for it. People consume substances for a variety of personal reasons — to heal, to relieve pain, to provide clarity, or to escape reality for a bit — so personal amounts of substances that a citizen consumes to achieve a feeling in comfort and in a safe place should not be considered illegal.
Right now, the amount of an illegal substance that would fit in my palm (approximately 3.5g) is considered enough to be charged with trafficking. It makes those dealing with pain or anxiety without medical coverage the recognized criminals. According to a recent article in the Maine Beacon, that low tripwire has been a recognized method of putting a statistically significant number of black men into Maine’s criminal justice system. And now that opioid and suicide crises have hit veterans and women, we must take the boot of criminality off the chest of all citizens trying to deal with personal pain.
Imagine making pain go away without making how you do it a crime. We can help by reminding our representatives to support LD 1492: An Act To Reform Drug Sentencing Laws to decriminalize personal use amounts of currently illegal substances.
Rafael Macias, Topsham

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