Before we vote on Nov. 8 it’s time that we had a serious discussion about the dangers of marijuana.

We are talking about distorted perceptions and disrupted thinking — and that’s just in the referendum’s opponents.

The “Vote No on 1” crowd seem to be slipping dangerously into delusional state with less than three weeks to go before Election Day. Their leading spokespeople are scaring themselves with figments of their own imaginations. It’s almost as if a wave of paranoia swept through their minds, and it’s making them blurt out things that they would know weren’t true if they were in a normal state of mind.

Exhibit A is Maine’s top prosecutor, the otherwise sensible Attorney General Janet Mills, who issued a press release last week to announce that saying “yes” to a question that begins “Do you want to allow the possession and use of marijuana under state law by persons who are at least 21 years of age…” would actually be legalizing pot for people of all ages.

Mills said the new law would wipe out the existing statute that outlines the penalties for juvenile violators.

“The effect is it makes it legal for anybody of any age — 2 years old, 20 years old, 80 years old — to possess up to 2½ ounces of marijuana. That’s disturbing to me,” Mills told WCSH last week. “I have to think it’s something more than a drafting error because they deliberately wrote a 30-page bill. It’s very troublesome, the language of the bill.”

I hear what she’s saying. Two-year-olds smoking anything is indeed a troubling notion. And to think that the people behind a referendum campaign would intentionally do something this awful is even worse.

What are they trying to do to us? What kind of world do we live in? What’s going on?

But if you find yourself feeling this way, it would be a good time to concentrate on your breath and listen to some chill music. Maybe light a candle and some incense.

Because this is not going to happen.

First of all, the question is being pushed by the “Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol.” Last time we checked, alcohol was pretty strictly regulated to prevent children from buying it. Teens have been known to steal alcohol or to get some help from adults to buy it illegally, but those are criminal offenses. Regulating something “like alcohol” is another way of saying that it’s not for kids,

Lawyers for the campaign say that Mills is wrong, and the referendum would only repeal the part of the law that affects fines for adults who use or possess pot. But even if they are wrong and Mills is right, don’t expect to see legal dope dealers at the daycare when Nov. 9 rolls around.

That’s because the Legislature still has to write the rules for the new marijuana regime, and there will be more than enough time to fix anything that needs fixing before any legal pot were to be bought or sold.

Does anybody think there would be a single vote in the House or Senate against reinstating penalties for drug use by minors? This would go through quicker than the resolution recognizing Sleep Disorder Awareness Week or National Clean Up Your Virtual Desktop Day. The governor might even sign it.

Speaking of the governor, he is experiencing his own version of the pot terrors.

In a video released by his office last week, LePage stared into a camera with all the ease of an ISIS hostage on beheading day, reported that marijuana kills.

“THC levels in marijuana snacks are so high, they could kill children and pets.” Wow, scary. Sort of.

It’s true that a significant number of children and pets have been killed by marijuana overdoses. The number is zero, which is a very significant number.

Unlike alcohol, aspirin and drain cleaner — all legal products — the illegal substance marijuana has no known lethal dose.

There are plenty of good reasons not to vote for Question 1 next month. Marijuana takes hold of some people’s lives and does not let go. It is especially destructive for young developing minds. It’s no joke.

If you think that keeping pot illegal is the best way to prevent people from doing something that millions of them are breaking the law to do right now, you should vote no.

But if you are worried about 5-year-olds legally sparking up spliffs behind the kindergarten, or coming home to find your dog with his paws in the air after getting into your pot-infused Gummi Bears, relax.

It’s just the pot talking. It can make you think some weird things.

Greg Kesich is the editorial page editor. He can be contacted at:

[email protected]


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