After the recent voting in Maine to make marijuana legal for recreational use, Bangor Public Health thought it would be important to educate parents on the different ways marijuana can be used.
Bangor Public Health manager Jamie Comstock, gave the presentation.
“What we want people to know is the difference between what we call marijuana 1.0
and marijuana today. There have been a lot of changes. Most people grew up with marijuana thinking it in leaf form and a bag, like a dime bag that you would buy. Or rolled in joints and put in brownies. It’s really a much more sophisticated industry.”
Comstock says marijuana is a fast moving industry. The product is constantly changing to create a stronger high for the users and creative ways to use it. She says that by 2021 marijuana sales are expected to reach a booming $21billion in sales. This could be huge for the pine tree state. The amount of revenue and money it could bring in is unreal.
According to local officials, some forms of marijuana are specifically targeted towards children. Marijuana in the form of cotton candy, pix
ie sticks and even a chocolate candy bar are just a few of the options. Even though these forms are targeted towards adolescents, it is illegal to use unless you are 21 and older. The law also says you can’t just use as much as you want. The legal amount is 2.5 ounces. Approximately you can roll about 60 marijuana cigarettes or joints, with each ounce. You also are not allowed to just smoke it or eat it anywhere you want. The law says you have two options- you can use it in the privacy of your own home or you can go to a state-licensed marijuana smoking club. But, there won’t be any of these clubs available in Maine until at least February of 2018. If you get caught using marijuana in public you can be fined up to $100. You are allowed to grow marijuana yourself if you want. Legally you are allowed to have six mature plants, 12 immature plants and an unlimited number of seedlings at any given time. You cannot grow it where it can be seen by other people and you have to keep it away from anyone that isn’t 21 years or older. Each plant has to have tag on it that has your name and the state license number.
Marijuana has the potential to bring Maine a large amount of revenue. Comstock says it could create jobs within small businesses and delivery services.
Because of availability, comstock says colorado has seen a 71-percent increase in use in middle schools, high schools and colleges. There is no efficient way to detect marijuana in your system like we can alcohol. It requires a lot of training and money. There are only a handful of these sources in the state of maine, causing law enforcement agencies to be wary of driving under the influence of marijuana. Troy Bires, Captain of the Ellsworth Police Department, says marijuana is the least of the their worries. “Our state has so much deadly drugs to worry about rather than marijuana. Now that is has been passed for recreational use it is hard for us control it at all. People are going to drive while under the influence, unfortunately it is extremely hard to detect it.” Bires also says that there isn’t currently any training going on that will detect driving under the influence of marijuana and he hopes to have a better solution to to able to test people that may be under the influence when they are pulled over. Similar to alcohol.
Karen Ryla, a caseworker for the state of Maine, says she came to the session to gain more knowledge on the topic.
“Certainly not to be an expert on it but to learn as much information as I can.” Ryla says being a caseworker is a hard job. Dealing with at risk children and teenagers in a world where marijuana is now legal is tricky business. She also says with marijuana being legal you can’t hold it against possible people that want to take kids in. “Marijuana isn’t illegal anymore. That means kids are going to see it and be around it if adults do it around them. This might make them think it is okay for them to do it, which makes it tricky to feel like you are doing the right thing by placing them in that home.”
Since there are so many different ways to use marijuana now, Ryla says sometimes it is hard to even know if someone uses marijuana. “Like we learned in this session tonight, weed comes in all different shapes and sizes now. It is just a joint or a dime bag like Jamie said. Unfortunately, that makes it harder for us to figure out if people use it. Even though it is legal, it doesn’t mean kids should be around it.”
If you have any questions regarding the laws and regulations regarding marijuana in Maine, you can contact your local police department with any questions or concerns.