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Maine attorney general denies that her Question 1 criticism politically motivated

BANGOR, Maine — The Maine attorney general said Saturday that her recent declaration that the state’s marijuana referendum, if passed, would let children use the drug legally was based on extensive research.

Attorney General Janet Mills rejected suggestions that the timing of her statement last week was politically motivated. “I wish [proponents of Question 1] had talked to me before they drafted it,” Mills said after speaking at an anti-Trump rally outside the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.

Scott Anderson, a Portland attorney the Yes on 1 campaign retained to respond to Mills’ analysis, on Friday described the timing of Mills’ latest statement as “disturbing,” confusing and disheartening.

The referendum question would repeal a section of law defining the penalties for having up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana, both for adults and minors. Mills and other prosecutors said the question does nothing to replace those penalties for people under 21, taking the teeth out of any enforcement efforts.

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The Maine secretary of state’s office described that omission as correctable with an easy legislative fix.

Mills said she wasn’t so sure. “The end result of that law,” she said, “is that it does a lot more than repeal” penalties for marijuana use.

Such a repeal, she said, could occur with a simpler rewrite of the existing law.

Her pronouncement on the law is based on discussions with local district attorneys and on research by lawyers in her office “just in the last couple of weeks.” Her own close examination of the referendum’s language also was part of her review, she said.


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