Maine Sheriff Endorses Medical Marijuana 10/22/99

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Cumberland County, Maine Sheriff Mark Dion held a press conference in Portland yesterday morning (10/21) to pledge his support for the state's medical marijuana initiative, Question 2. In his statement, Dion said he had not turned his back on the war on drugs, but he asked his fellow citizens to "declare a cease fire so that we can treat the wounded in our society."

Dion served on the Portland police department for more than 20 years before he was elected Sheriff of Cumberland County in 1998. Among other things, he is credited with implementing community policing in Portland and taking the lead in combating hate crimes.

"The reduction of chronic pain and suffering is a serious public health question. One which we in criminal justice should act to help, and answer, not hinder," Dion said. "I have taken an oath to uphold the law, yet I am bound to an equally important duty to seek justice," he added.

Many drug warriors have bemoaned the "bad message" medical marijuana sends to children, but Dion said he hoped his endorsement of Question 2 would send a different message to his own children.

"My hope is that my children will learn today that sometimes the right decision is not immediately popular with your peers," he said. "But if that decision seeks to advance human compassion and dignity, then one can take comfort there."

Dion was joined at the press conference by three medical marijuana patients, including former Portland city council member Barb Wood, who used marijuana to alleviate nausea during chemotherapy she received for ovarian cancer.

The full text of Question 2, along with further information about the initiative, is online at http://www.mainers.org.

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