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Marijuana Advocates Battle

It’s an interesting state of affairs when the marijuana reform movement, with a growing list of successes, may see setbacks because of internal dissent. The two main groups are those that push marijuana for medical use and those that want to see cannabis legalized for recreational use. The two factions have been allies for a long time, often merging funds and working to pass legislation together. The “full legalization” crowd saw medical marijuana as a step in the right direction, but now that some states are considering moving from medical only to legalization (as Washington and Colorado already have), the groups find they have different objectives.

In Maine, the dissent can be seen in a pair of articles from Maine newspapers posted on the NORML website. The first, originally published in the Maine Sun Journal presents the legalization side: “MAINE POT ADVOCATES PUSH FOR LEGALIZATION.” It recites the arguments for full legalization that are commonly made, including enhanced revenue streams and addressing the injustice of prison time for marijuana offenses.

The second article, “SOME DISPENSARIES NOT TOO THRILLED BY LEGAL POT,” appeared in the Morning Sentinel. It describes the loss of dispensary business that would occur with legalization and how medical marijuana patients have been served by this industry. There’s also the matter of losing touch with the medical community who currently advise patients and look for problems. In short, “we got ours, so leave things be.”

In Colorado, which recently came up with rules for their system of legalization, added a provision to transition from a dispensary model to retail sales. They will allow a period of exclusivity where dispensaries can sell legally to adults before other retail establishments are licensed. This is meant to give dispensaries a head start and encourage them to make the transition.

It’s still up in the air whether Maine will go fully legal or not. No one can tell for certain. But it appears that some opposition to legalization will come from other marijuana advocates, an odd situation.

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