Bates College students join effort to legalize recreational use of marijuana …

October 8th, 2014 by admin Leave a reply »

LEWISTON, Maine — Advocates for a city ordinance change that would make the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana legal for those older than 21 said Tuesday they are hoping to mobilize young voters, especially college students at Bates, to their cause.

Voters in Lewiston and South Portland will decide similar ballot questions in November as the Maine Marijuana Policy Project works to increase pressure on the Legislature to make marijuana for recreational use legal statewide.

“Prohibition does not work and it’s time for a change,” said Alexandra Gwillim, a Bates student who joined David Boyer, the political director of the Maine Marijuana Policy Project.

Gwillim said the prohibition on marijuana for recreational use was a contributing factor in what she called the “binge drinking culture at college.”

“Drinking is a huge part of college and so is alcohol abuse,” Gwillim said. “Every weekend I see students taken away in ambulances because of binge drinking.”

Gwillim said the risks of using marijuana “dim in comparison” to alcohol, “except when it comes to the law.”

She said campus alcohol abuse was “perpetuated by marijuana prohibition.”

Sexual assault, harassment and domestic violence were all consistently linked to alcohol abuse but marijuana provided a “healthier alternative,” she argued.

Boyer said the campaign intended to focus on younger voters because “younger folks see that marijuana prohibition hasn’t worked. It’s done nothing to stop the flow of marijuana into our communities. They see the effects of marijuana and alcohol firsthand and they realize that marijuana is safer

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