Paul LePage Warns of 'Deadly' Marijuana in 21st Century Reefer Madness Video
Maine's Tea Party governor has taken time off from urging Donald Trump to exert some authoritarian power to once again wade into the thickets of drug policy, and as usual when Gov. Paul LePage (R) talks about drugs, prepare to be surprised—and not in a good way.
The loose cannon once suggested the state behead drug traffickers, whose names he said in dog whistle language were typically "D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty," and whom he accused of impregnating the state's white girls before heading back to New York or Connecticut. LePage again resorted to factually-challenged race-baiting when he claimed 90% of drug dealers in the state were black or Hispanic; they turned out to be 60% white.
In his latest foray, LePage goes on video to attack the Question 1 marijuana legalization initiative before the voters next month. And in typical LePage fashion, his intervention is full of false and misleading statements.
"Question 1 is not just bad for Maine, it can be deadly," he warns, before claiming traffic fatalities have gone up in Colorado since the state legalized recreational pot. In fact, a new report from the Drug Policy Alliance shows there has been no significant increase in traffic fatalities since legalization in either Colorado or Washington.
"Marijuana is three times stronger than it was in the 1980s," he intones, which is roughly accurate, but misleading. The primary consequence of increased potency is not increased toxicity, but the tendency to smoke less to achieve the desired effect, much as one can get the same effect from a one-ounce shot of hard alcohol as from as 12-ounce bottle of beer.
He also tries to tie marijuana to Maine's opioid crisis, asserting that "people addicted to marijuana as three times more likely to be addicted to heroin." But a recent study in JAMA Internal Medicine found a 25% reduction in opioid overdose fatalities in medical marijuana states.
From there, LePage presented an unintentionally hilarious nightmare vision where "they will smoke weed and sell pot at state fairs" and children and pets will be struck dead from mistakenly eating "marijuana snacks," which are to be found near "schools, daycare centers, and churches."
Question 1 supporter state Rep. Diane Russell (D-Portland) told the Huffington Post LePage's over-the-top video performance could actually sway voters to vote "yes."
"It is right out of ‘The Boy Who Cried Wolf,’" Russell said. "If you keep telling lies or propaganda, eventually when you need them to hear the truth they are just not going to believe you. The magical thing he did is he took all the bullshit from the 1980s on and put it in one video," she added.