Mainers Protecting Our Youth and Communities announced Friday that travel guru Rick Steves will not debate opponents of the legalization effort in Maine.

The group, which was formed to oppose Question 1 on the November ballot, issued a challenge for Steves to debate marijuana policy expert Kevin Sabet after campaign finance reports showed Steves had donated to the pro-legalization campaign.

Steves, a well-known travel writer and television host, donated $50,000 to the political action committee that’s backing a November referendum effort to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Steves has been a prominent supporter of legalization in the U.S. He is scheduled to come to Maine in October to stump for the referendum campaign.

“Today, the Yes on 1 campaign informed us that they are declining the debate challenge because ‘there isn’t room’ in the schedule to accommodate a debate,” said Scott Gagnon of Mainers Protecting Our Youth and Communities.

Gagnon called the decision “unfortunate.”

“This is a major decision before Maine voters and they deserve to have a full debate,” Gagnon said in a statement. “A major out-of-state donor should be able to stand up and defend the initiative he is funding before Maine voters. We renew our call for this debate, and hope Mr. Steves will make the time in his schedule.”

Gagnon encouraged opponents of legalization to attend Steves’ public events and ask him questions.

Steves is a resident of Washington state and has worked for legalization there and in Oregon.

If the marijuana referendum is approved, adults could possess up to 2½ ounces of marijuana and cultivate up to six plants for personal use. Marijuana use would be prohibited in public, with violations punished by a $100 fine. The bill also would apply a sales tax of 10 percent to retail marijuana and marijuana products.

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