A South Portland, Maine police chief, Edward Googins, is being challenged to a showdown by a marijuana activist, trying to prove once and for all that pot use, is in fact, less harmful than alcohol consumption.
The proposed ‘duel’ has likely been sparked due to elevated controversy over marijuana since a pair of ballot initiatives in the November midterm will allow voters in South Portland and nearby Lewiston to legalize possession of the drug for adults. Police Chief Googins, like many police forces, doesn’t believe that marijuana should be legalized.
Googins scoffs at the claims of pot proponents. He told the Bangor Daily News last week, with no trace of humor in his voice:
“Claims that marijuana is safer than alcohol are so bogus it’s not even funny.”
Marijuana activist David Boyer disagrees. He has challenged Googins to a Wild West-style showdown.
Boyer asked the police chief to meet him on Wednesday at “the Mill Creek Park gazebo at high noon” where he will be waiting with “enough alcohol to kill a man.” He proposed that for every shot of alcohol consumed by the chief, Boyer would take a hit of marijuana.
While Googins isn’t likely to risk public intoxication as the city’s police chief, he will have to defend himself against Boyer later that evening.
The two men are scheduled to debate the legalization of marijuana at South Portland High School.
There is no doubt that both alcohol consumption and pot smoking can negatively affect the body, showing both short- and long-term health effects. Though alcohol has been linked to some 88,000 deaths per year, according to the CDC, while for many reasons, deaths associated with marijuana use are harder to come by.
This is likely due to the fact that marijuana can also save lives, and research into marijuana’s health effects is still relatively young, compared with the myriad studies looking at alcohol and human health.
Even President Obama admits to smoking pot in his youth. He is on record saying, “I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol.”
Alcohol hasn’t been able to reduce suicide rates, stop chronic pain in MS patients, or even help cancer patients overcome damaging chemotherapy. Marijuana has been able to. Medical marijuana may differ from recreational, but Boyer is right. A binge on alcohol could kill a man from liver poisoning. A binge on marijuana would only leave someone with the munchies and a hazy brain fog that might inhibit them from starting a fight at a bar – not encourage it.