Maine is gearing up for cannabis legalization, which will be on the ballot this November, despite attempts to disqualify almost half of the signatures gathered by activists for the ballot initiative. The next hurdle, one that continues to be a thorn in the side for cannabis lovers across the nation, is SAM.
“Smart” Approaches to Marijuana
SAM, led by Kevin Sabet, former advisor the Obama’s drug czar, has been bashed in testimony in front of Congress, in debates on the news, and repeatedly exposed for misrepresenting scientific facts, but continues to play to the ear of scared conservatives across the nation.
Scott Gagnon of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, which leads the opposition to legalization, said he is skeptical of any poll funded by proponents of the initiative. Gagnon is also a blogger for the Bangor Daily News.
“The fact that the campaign has received wall-to-wall media coverage and is only at 55% in a poll they commissioned means their campaign still has an uphill battle. I believe you will see just how soft that support is once our coalition ramps up and gets out to share the true risks and costs of legalization with Mainers all around the state.”
That quote comes from the Bangor Daily News, a publication that openly admits that it simultaneously covered the quotes of Scott Gagnon while also employing him. Being a bullhorn-toting Prohibitionist with a direct line into one of the biggest news outlets in the state, Gagnon is spilling anti-cannabis rhetoric with abandon in hopes of weakening the support for marijuana legalization in the state.
The problem for Gagnon is a recently released poll published in Critical Insights, a Portland market research firm, found 55% in favor of legalization. And other polls show just as much, if not more support. A poll in the spring of 2015 by Critical Insights found that 65% of Mainers support legalizing marijuana, and national polls put American support at 58%.
Fighting tooth and nail against allowing access to cannabis, Gagnon has chimed in at every turn, despite Maine allowing medical use since 1999. When the 2 competing ballot initiatives decided to join forces in order to ensure the vote wasn’t split between them, Gagnon said:
“Maine is experiencing a significant substance abuse epidemic statewide. I think Mainers understand that our young people do not start their substance abuse with heroin. They experiment with drugs like tobacco, alcohol and, increasingly, marijuana. It is an absolutely tone-deaf policy proposal to create another legal, addictive drug industry while we are in the middle of this crisis.”
When Superior Court Judge Michaela Murphy overturned the invalidation of over 17,000 petition signatures because of the signature on record for the Notary who gathered them, he fumed:
“We will certainly be examining all options and strategies for the weeks and months ahead, and we will be prepared should this indeed find its way to the ballot in November.”
Keep your wits Mainers
Well, SAM’s next strategy appears to be filling the ears of potential voters with the phrases “rock THC” and “crystal THC”. Gagnon and SAM are haters who like nothing more than to twist words by saying that the smartest approach is to flee in fear of a non-toxic plant that saves lives.
Citizens in Maine know that there is an epidemic of drug abuse in their state, and that is one of the many reasons they want greater access to cannabis. Recently, Mainers spoke out on how cannabis can be an effective treatment for addiction to dangerous drugs.
Do you think that SAM will succeed in scaring voters away from the issue in November? Or will their attempts to use false statistics and outdated propaganda only help more citizens realize them for the manipulators that they are? Share your thoughts on social media or in the comments section below.