South Portland school board takes stand against pot | News

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South Portland school board takes stand against pot

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Members of the South Portland Board of Education voted four to three to approve a resolution opposing the marijuana referendum. On Nov. 4, South Portland resident will decide whether to legalize marijuana possession for people 21 and older.

The resolution focused on health risks that marijuana use poses to minors. A poll conducted last year by the Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey found that 27.5 percent of South Portland High School students used marijuana in the past 30 days, up from 23.9 percent five years ago. Nearly 65 percent of those same students believe there is a slight or no risk of using marijuana regularly.

Opponents of the marijuana referendum said it puts youth at risk for use of a drug that is not safe.

"They did take a stand that this is not a good idea for our community articulated as to why and guess what the young people will hear that message," said Chief Ed Googins of the South Portland Police Department.

David Boyer is the Maine political director of the Marijuana Policy Project, a group that has worked to get the marijuana initiative on the ballot in South Portland and Lewiston. He said legalizing pot for adults would keep it out of the hands of teens.

"Marijuana is not for kids - the school board already has a zero tolerance drug policy this resolution probably wasn't needed," said David Boyer of the Marijuana Policy Project.

The referendum question is on the ballot in South Portland and Lewiston. A judge rejected a request by pro-marijuana activists that would have forced the town of York to put a legalization question on the November ballot.

The Marijuana Policy Project is hoping to bring the question to voters statewide in 2016.


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