PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) –
Could the legal language in question one make it possible for children to smoke marijuana?
Attorney General Janet Mills and Cumberland County District Attorney Stephanie Anderson say yes.
“It makes it legal for anyone of any age, two-years-old, 20 years-old, 80 years-old, to possess up to two and a half ounces of marijuana,” said Mills.
Lawyers for Yes on One, the people who drafted the pot legalization law that appears on next month's ballot, disagree.
They think the legislation makes it abundantly clear only people 21 years-old and older will be allowed to consume and use marijuana.
“It's in 20 or 25 different provisions in the proposed bill and the purpose of this law and the way it was drafted both by the Attorney General's office previously and drafted in cooperation with the Revisor's Office only allows persons 21 or older to possess marijuana lawfully in the state of Maine,” said Scott Anderson, a lawyer for the Yes on One campaign.
Right now, a sentence in Question 1 repeals an existing Maine laws regarding the possession of marijuana and depending on who you ask, it has different consequences.
That's a big deal for a couple of reasons:
One -- it's only three and a half weeks until Election Day which means early voters may have made decisions without realizing there could be a problem.
Two -- it's so close to Election Day that it might be impossible to change the proposed law before it goes into effect.
It's why Cumberland County District Attorney Stephanie Anderson says the people in charge of Question One should tell voters to vote it down so the legislation can be fixed and voted on next year.
“The only thing they can do is right now is call on their supporters to and say when you go to the poll in November vote, no,” she said. “That's the only responsible thing they can do.”
When NEWS CENTER asked the lawyers for Yes on One about this though they said the campaign has no plans to do that.
They also say Mills had a chance to say something about the referendum when her office first reviewed it before it went on the ballot.
“We are shocked that in the 11th hour here, with only three weeks left in the campaign, the attorney general is taking a completely different position,” said Scott Anderson.
There are still a lot of unanswered questions, such as whose interpretation of the law is right and, if there is a loophole concerning minors, can it be closed if the referendum passes?
NEWS CENTER will continue to follow this developing story.