Sears, Shumlin push changes to marijuana legislation

Dick Sears

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Sears, D-Bennington, says he won’t vote for a marijuana legalization bill if it allows homegrown pot. File Photo by Laura Krantz/VTDigger

As a key Senate committee prepares to vote Friday on legislation to legalize recreational marijuana, its chairman spent much of Tuesday pushing changes to the bill.

Sen. Dick Sears, D-Bennington, asked the Senate Judiciary Committee — and later, a Democratic caucus — to add language that would move a quarter of the tax money brought in by legal pot to the state’s general fund; bar people from growing the plant at home; and beef up penalties for adults who sell the drug to minors.

Sears said he won’t vote for the final bill if it allows homegrown marijuana. “I’ve come a long way from last October,” Sears said. “If I vote no, I’ll still live. If I vote yes, I’ll live too.”

He pointed to Colorado, a state that allows people to grow their own marijuana. Homegrown pot created a “gray market” in Colorado, he said, where some of what is legally grown but not regulated is easily sold on the black market.

Gov. Peter Shumlin highlighted Sears’ bill at a press conference on Tuesday and said he supports the legislation on the whole. He said he is open to debate about whether the state should allow homegrown marijuana.

“I’ve never supported homegrown, indoor grown,” Shumlin said. “I think as the bill travels, there’s a conversation about wether you have a plant or two in your garden, during grow months, where you’re not facing all the indoor growing problems the state is facing, all sorts of mold problems, all kinds of problems. I’m willing to listen to that debate.”

Speaking to his committee, Sears was careful to follow the prerequisites Shumlin laid out for legalization during his State of the State address and instructed his committee to do the same. “Gov. Shumlin offered five principles,” he said. “This committee will be guided by those principles.”

Shumlin said any marijuana law must keep the drug away from kids; wipe out the black market; provide revenue to expand addiction prevention; strengthen enforcement against impaired drivers; and ban the sale of edible marijuana products until other states show it can be done right.

Under the new provisions, tax profit would be split four equal ways: a quarter each to prevention and treatment of marijuana use; a quarter for police to enforce drugged driving laws and battle the black market; and a quarter to the general fund.

Senate Democrats held a caucus Tuesday to hear Sears’ proposals. Lawmakers expressed support for the bill and his proposed changes.

Sen. Tim Ashe, D/P-Burlington, told the caucus that after he spoke to high school students at Peoples Academy in Morrisville, the students made clear to him that “it’s insanely easy to get marijuana” at the school.

“We’ve been hearing the same thing from people all across the state for the past 30 years,” said Sen. Claire Ayer, D-Addison.

‘DART BOARD’ TIMELINE

Should the law pass, a major regulatory and rule-making challenge awaits state agencies. Sears offered a timeline for implementing the law, with the disclaimer that it is up in the air.

“It’s like a dart board,” he said. “You can throw whatever you want at it and what you hit could change.”

Under his timeline, stores wouldn’t begin legally selling marijuana and adults couldn’t legally use the drug until Jan. 1, 2018.

The chief agency involved in regulating marijuana would be the Department of Public Safety. Immediately after passage of the bill, that department would begin working on a regulatory framework. By mid-March 2017, the department would have a complete rulebook.

To get the legal market off the ground, from mid-March to mid-April 2017 the department would first vet and then issue between 10 and 20 licenses for businesses that want to grow marijuana for the legal market.

Three months later, retail marijuana businesses would also go through a licensing process, but this time the department would issue 20 to 40 licenses.

The law would also create a commission made up of two doctors and a nurse who would make recommendations to lawmakers about how the drug can be used medically.

The commission would meet for the first time in October of this year and issue a final report to the Legislature two years later.

ACLU WEIGHS IN

In testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Allen Gilbert, executive director of the Vermont chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, asked lawmakers to consider why marijuana is illegal when drugs that he said are equally dangerous — if not more dangerous — such as tobacco and alcohol remain legal.

ACLU Vermont Executive Director Allen Gilbert. VTD/Josh Larkin

ACLU Vermont Executive Director Allen Gilbert. File Photo by Josh Larkin/VTDigger

“Marijuana became associated with marginalized populations like African-Americans and Hispanics,” he said. “In Vermont, a black person is four times more likely to be arrested for using marijuana than a white person.”

National data suggests that whites and blacks use marijuana at very similar rates, he said.

Gilbert said Shumlin was correct in his State of the State address when he said the war on drugs has failed. “The question is not whether to legalize but how to regulate,” Gilbert said.

Gilbert supports allowing homegrown marijuana. “We still allow people to grow hops and home-brew beer,” he said.

UPDATED: A longer quote from Gov. Peter Shumlin regarding his stance on homegrown pot was added to this story.

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  • Walter Carpenter
  • Fred Woogmaster

    Although I support the goal of preventing children who have not reached “maturity” from using questionable substances, certainly alcohol and tobacco, prohibiting homegrown marijuana – a comparatively benign substance – is not the way to do it.

    There should be no authority, governmental or private, over what one grows in one’s own garden for one’s own use. Period.

  • michael olcott

    yep i knew it was for the money. i really tried to have faith that they were doing this for the reasons of liberty and freedom. as much as i want VT to be the first to legalize it on the EC,i am having a difficult time accepting this without the homegrown option. The timeline is pathetically slow as well. i mean it takes several weeks before the first plants would even be ready for sale, do we have part time regulators in VT like our legislature? i seriously thought the purpose of legislative committee’s was to improve bills before they came to the floor for a vote, not carve it out untill it’s a clockwork law that only benefits the crony-crapitalistic system. VT i expected better of you.

    • Neil Johnson

      It’s all about writing sexy legislation and setting up monopolies they or their friends control.

      • michael olcott

        you will be chuckling to know that i was thinking “damn it Neil THIS time you were right after all” all the while i was writing that this morning

  • Anthony Sep

    Can we all move away from the archaic way we look at this plant? We will certainly look back in amusement at efforts to, on the one hand say it’s okay to possess and use this substance, while on the other deem it illegal to grow. Talk about the proverbial slippery slope. I sure hope they don’t come for my tomatoes and chili peppers next.

  • Clara Schoppe

    Looks like our governor has hit on the solution to his fiscal irresponsibility. Moral irresponsibility… A state run monopoly on marijuana to raise money through the sales of a drug that is harmful to the brains of our young people (heck, they’re leaving the state in droves, anyway). Soon it will be the Shumlin Drug Cartel running Vermont.

  • Tom Kauffmann

    It appears to me a black person is more likely to be arrested than a white person for most every crime, so if this is Mr. Gilbert’s rationale for legalizing marijuana, we might as well legalize everything.

    • Neil Johnson

      They state it’s available through out our school system. This is only because we allow it. Seriously it would be very easy to keep out of schools, but we choose not to do it.

      How is creating another law going to stop it? The penalties are very severe now.

    • Andy Hooper

      Your comment looks are false causality. The Ron Allen and the ACLU support the legalization of marijuana is because the *purpose*, sometimes even explicitly, of most drug prohibitions was to criminalize and marginalized foreign-born minority groups.

      People scared of Chinese immigrants? Make opium illegal.
      People scared of Mexican immigrants? Make marijuana illegal.
      etc.

      Laws against violence and for the defense of property have no prejudicial or xenophobic origins.

  • Bob Stannard

    Sen. Sears is to be commended for not only taking on this contentious issue, but for working hard to get it right. To those who will be upset at not being able to grown your own I would say be happy with half a loaf and grateful for the good work being done on this issue. It’s been a long time coming….

    • Fred Woogmaster

      Half a loaf, Mr. Stannard? That is certainly debatable.

      I agree. Senator Sears process IS commendable; the product is significantly flawed, however, its development guided by those controlled by unwarranted fear and mostly personally inexperienced with cannnabis,

      Home brewed vodka, gin and beer are okay (are they not?) and pot – a comparatively benign substance – is not? Adolescent alienation is growing. Adult hypocrisy A cause. No surprises here.

      Moreover, I firmly believe that there should be no authority, governmental or private, over what one grows in one’s own garden – for one’s own use.

      Although I agree with you about Dick Sears – the product is deficient – in my view – and therefore undesirable..

      • Terry Wetmore

        Home brewed vodka, and gin are completely illegal in this country all though beer is not. I feel like they should be legal, as well as growing your own pot, but the fact is that distilling spirits is illegal.

      • Peter Straube

        As far as taxation and personal freedoms go, I agree that the key factor here is whether we produce the product for personal use or to distribute and make some money off of selling it to others. Vermont law already provides for each of us (adults) to make 100 gallons of beer and 100 gallons of wine per year without it being taxed or regulated. Growing 2-3 pot plants in your backyard sure seems similar to that in spirit. We don’t pay sales tax on the potatoes or kale we grow in our gardens, so why should weed be any different?

  • Mark Keefe

    Gov. Shumlin and Sen. Sears want a “War on Homegrown”. More money for enforcement, stiffer penalties. Yea, that should work.
    Go get those folks with weed(s) growing in their garden and, at the same time, advertise for more tourists at your store front. Can you spell C-A-R-T-E-L?

  • edward letourneau

    Why don’t they make some additions that are really smart for society; like if you use drugs and can’t get a job, you can’t get any kind of welfare either. And let make driving safer; if you use drugs and don’t have insurance the police remove your license plates until you have insurance.

    • michael olcott

      right, you realize that under those rules it will be only a matter of time before desperation drives someone to commit acts of violence and theft to provide for their needs. which means either they end up dead ( what a humane choice,i wont hire you so now that you are desperate and have broken into my home i can kill you) or in jail (i refused to hire you and now am willing to pay 30k a year to keep you locked in a cage instead of providing a social safety net that will help you become a productive citizen at half the cost) all because someone chooses a different fix than you? neither morality or intellect can justify your suggested course of actions.

      • edward letourneau

        Sorry but the rest of have a right to keep our money instead of having it taxed away for people on welfare because they choose to use drugs. These people need to learn self-reliance.

        • michael olcott

          Right because you are all such self made people Nobody in todays world is self reliant, the very concept of civilization is about dependency on others to elevate us all. Most of our unemployment problems would go away if cannabis was no longer counted against a person for a pre employment drug test. what people do on their own time is none of an employers business, and if we can send people out into the labor force to run machinery and vehicles on antidepressants,narcotic pain killers, and anti anxiety meds then i am less than clear how cannabis is any different. ( other than the users are..self reliant in their choice and source of medical/recreational drug) As far as the welfare system..yeah pretty sad that most of the programs wont even allow someone to save more than 2k. A GMI would save the state and country billions and increase payouts to all Citizens…and would lead to true self reliance when they could work on top of that without being caught in a trap of losing more benefits than what they earn in income can replace. but yeah its just easier to sit there and call your fellow citizens lazy and stupid druggies.

        • Mike Ferzoco

          Ed-37 dollars a year comes out of your taxes for “these people”-about 4600 dollars a year comes out for Wal-Mart, Exxon, and other corporate moochers. Why is your contempt only for the poor and not for the true thieves?

          • Neil Johnson

            Drugs are a serious problem. It is a choice people make. Yes we all need to work together. Perhaps he’s suggesting that we shouldn’t be such enablers for behavior that ruins people’s lives? Why does that make him worthy of scorn and ridicule?

            What would people say if I drove 120 mph on the interstate? Why do we even have rules? Perhaps its so we can work together with some reasonable expectations. It’s why everyone drives on the right side of the road. Without that rule we’d have chaos.

  • Chris Kayes

    I’m assuming that the only reason to ban homegrown is to increase the tax revenue, correct?

    • neil gerdes

      it’s to regulate it, for the same reason moonshine isn’t legal

      • Randy Jorgensen

        You can brew your own beer. Distill your own wine. Why draw the line in he sand here? Once again, this is nothing more then a tax revenue scam, that will affect the poor more then anyone, as the excise tax on it will be regressive, just like the tobacco tax. Sad really.

      • roger thomas

        Join the discussion

      • roger thomas

        Join the discussionhttp://www.ncsl.org/research/financial-services-and-commerce/home-manufacture-of-alcohol-state-statutes.aspx

    • roger thomas

      Affirmative! in response to your …? Making this a longer post.

  • Bruce Marshall

    Well there you have it….it is all about the money! The State to push smoking, not safer edibles, expand the police state, and help another Wall Street industry have their pot
    kiosks become a monopoly.

    Maybe some people will starting thinking “Its legal, I quit”

    But there will be people who will still prefer to grow their own, outdoors, not taxing the grid, “black billboards” and “white helicopters”, you know the so called “Green” projects where
    local communities do not have a say in sighting, and will now be powering ‘indoor bud’ guarded by the State. for the State.

  • Bob Orleck

    Quote from article in vtdigger “Under the new provisions, tax profit would be split four equal ways: a quarter each to prevention and treatment of marijuana use; a quarter for police to enforce drugged driving laws and battle the black market; and a quarter to the general fund.”

    Let me get this straight. Our legislature want to legalize a dangerous drug that is illegal under federal law because we want to bring in drug tourists to get their stuff so we can get their money. The message seems to come from some that this is only fair because there are other bad things people spend their money on like tobacco and alcohol that are legal. Make sense? No! Maybe we should legalize heroin as well and why limit prescription pills because having those things illegal sets up an illegal market that generates no tax revenue. We should just regulate them, right, and make some tax profit? Wrong!

    I don’t think anyone will deny that this legislation is about money. So what about the money? We really don’t want people to use this so lets use the money wisely? Wisely? The proposal is to make the use of the drug illegal until 2018 so we can set up regulations and licensing of 20-40 stores for this drug to be sold so primarily we can regulate and get “our fair share of the money”. Then this tax money we get from the tremendous amount of dirty money that will be spent by misled and deceived people that will come from far and wide, will be used to prevent (25%) and treat (25%) people who use this drug and 25% for strengthening enforcement against those who will drive impaired by this drug. That sure makes a lot of sense now doesn’t it? We will enable people to get the drug so we can treat them for the use and prevent them from using it. We will also make sure that what we enabled them to get will get them arrested with increased enforcement to prevent impaired driving. Sure makes sense to me! This is enough to drive a person to drink!

    Let’s ask our own medical experts and see what they have to say. The Vermont Department of Health has clearly pointed to the dangers to children, to those whose mental illnesses will be worsened with use and the assurance there will be casualties from motor vehicle accidents.

    The only sense I can make of this is that our leaders want a quarter of the money to go to the general budget so they can make up for their failure to balance the budget. Put our citizens in clear jeopardy for the sake of money to feed their spending habit is a fair trade-off, right? No!.

    I am particularly disappointed with Senator Sears who I have always felt was a man of integrity. I am quickly losing that feeling because I know he knows this is wrong. I only can hope and pray that he and others will do what in their hearts know is right and that is not to vote in favor of this legislation.

    I am a pharmacist and from that perspective, as citizen, father and grandfather, ask that you not do this!

    • Bob Stannard

      Calling Marijuana a “dangerous drug” is not really accurate. Sorry. It’s less dangerous than alcohol and tobacco; both of which are legal.

      • David Dempsey

        Bob,
        Do you mean it is less dangerous or not dangerous?

    • John Skalecki

      Spoken like a true Pharmacist. Big Pharma and its dealers/distributors (YOU) have caused more damage to the health and well being of the American people than the Cannabis plant ever will. You are part of the broken system. Its your job that is at stake when the Cannabis plant becomes used for half the things you dole out pills for everyday. You are right, it is all about money, and hence why Cannabis was made illegal and has remained illegal for so long.

  • Rick Veitch

    Two party bosses dictate a government regulated monopoly on cannabis cultivation then channel a quarter of the proceeds into law enforcement to protect their markets from home growers.

    Welcome to the “Vermont Way”.

  • Tom Sullivan

    “Gov. Peter Shumlin backed Sears’ additions. “I’ve never supported homegrown,” he said”

    Of course not!

    It’s not about personal freedom or the liberty to consume the marijuana that you personally grow, it’s about money. It’s about going to a dispensary and buying pot that will be so highly taxed, that it will be cost prohibitive for many. And if legalization passes (which I hope it doesn’t), I hope they tax the hell out of it.

  • Peter Everett

    Since I have no knowledge of the use of Marijuana, I can’t speak about the pros and cons of it. Never used, seen it only once in my 7 decades.
    As a consumer of products, my thoughts are this. If I can buy something at a lesser cost, I will. If the government thinks that making Marijuana legal…and taxing it, revenue gained will be substantial. My guess is like every other revenue projection, revenue will fall far short of the expected. Thus, another shortfall is created.
    People have only so much to spend. This is a relatively poor state to begin with, what do you think people are going to purchase? Higher priced, taxed Marijuana or black market lower priced? Three guesses, first two don’t count.
    All the legalization is going to do is…take the stigma away from being caught. I just hope that, if passed, it will still be illegal on public property, those who sell to minors, if caught, receive stiff mandatory punishment (this will never happen in VT). Same goes for driving under the influence.
    I have absolutely no problem with people using in the privacy of homes. I do have problems if the users state of mind is hindered through use, and, places any other person at greater risk.
    My guess is that those legislators, voting in favor of legalization, are already users of this, and want to be able to use as they see fit. Maybe, even in their office in the State House. After all, don’t many have a drink at lunch? What’s to stop them from smoking pot at this time? Just look at some of the legislation that is passed already. Makes one think of the state of mind of our elected officials, doesn’t it? Time will tell.

  • Rich Lachapelle

    With Sen. Sears’ proposed ban on home growing, I would hope that it is patently obvious that this “legalization” push isn’t about freedom, it is instead of about REVENUE and REGULATION. Vermont promotes it’s craft brewing industry as if the product is some kind of health food. Ok, it is, but it is still just ALCOHOL in a fancy wrapper and home brewing of malt has been legal since the Carter administration. I always had the utmost respect for Sen. Sears but this deal is a low point in his legislative career. The unregulated sale of home grown or any other sourced MJ would still be illegal so what’s his problem? Some people would just prefer to keep their production and use private, away from the black market and away from state regulation and oversight.

  • Santina Huskey

    I am assuming that in home cultivation will soon have high penalties and possible incarceration to protect the “legal” market VT is setting up. Small amounts have already been decriminalized. It’s legal to get a script for medical marijuana. Is legalizing marijuana further necessary other then to support the endlessly short State budget? It’s likely those who grow their own illegally will be shut down and they will find themselves having to buy off the new State market at whatever their prices are an ounce plus tax. Residents of VT think long and hard before supporting this bill as you may lose more then you gain in the long run.

    • Terry Wetmore

      Cultivating at home already has high penalties and incarceration. Although I agree that people should be allowed to grow at home, this is a step in the right direction.

  • John Markoski

    On the positive side, pizza shops, Chinese restaurants, and convenience stores are expecting business to quadruple between 6:00 PM and midnight.

  • Don peterson

    To summarize: we will legalize marijuana which will encourage people to come here and use it. We will use the proceeds from the sale of marijuana to discourage its use and sale. Also, we keep some for ourselves.

    It’s never been about the drug war, and always been about the money. Maybe we should get a casino on the lake next. Anything to keep the cost of governing a secret.

    • Randy Jorgensen

      Sounds just like a redux of the soda tax. Good intentions about the health perspectives in regards to the Soda tax, then it just boils down to another money grab once these guys in the bubble get their hands on it.

      • Jennifer Roberts

        And just like the soda tax, EBT Card users will not pay the tax.

  • Lance Hagen

    Isn’t it ironic, or maybe comical, that the state wants to legalize the sale and use of marijuana and then spend a quarter of the tax revenue for “prevention and treatment of marijuana use”.

  • Neil Johnson

    Some people are determined to ruin our state. We’ll know who to thank when we become the biggest drug dealing state on the east coast . What could go wrong?

    There is a middle ground that would work for everyone and send the right message. This is what happens when some have too much power.

    • Terry Wetmore

      You do realized that we already have one of the highest usage rates in the nation? Even higher than some states that ave legalized.

  • Joyce Travers

    And there is a group waiting in the wings to open their doors as the first stores and they have already been chosen. It’s all in who ya know folks…..and if you are not on someones A list – you are going to be locked out of this opportunity. Those 20 to 40 licenses will not be handed out to just anyone.
    Really sad that a person can’t grow something (that will have been deemed legal) – in their own garden.
    Anyone else notice that Shumlin waited until he was leaving to announce that he is behind it? He wants everyone to remember him as the cool guv that got pot legalized instead of the guv that wasn’t quite Vermont’s proudest moment.

    • Bruce Marshall

      An important insight, and sadly how true.

  • Frank Beardsley

    There are a lot of great comments on this article. I’m also confounded by the proposed division of profit from the sale of marijuana in Vermont; Colorado gives ‘cash grants’ to many school districts and counties get to share in the money as well. Perhaps it’s time for Vermont to have our own TABOR (Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights), as Colorado does, which is a constitutional amendment that limits the amount of revenue government can collect and spend. Understandably, given the ups and downs of the economy, it’s had some problems, but our legislature appears to be out of control and desperately needs to be reigned in.

    • Rich Lachapelle

      We have the opportunity to “reign in the Legislature” every 2 years but sadly we fail to take advantage due to the apparently large proportion of single-party voters. They have been out of control for the better part of 50 years now…

      • Frank Beardsley

        Most other states allow the populace to vote on important, contentious issues, but some of our reps apparently believe they know better than the rest of us rubes what’s good for us. If we’ve ever needed an amendment to our VT Constitution, now’s the time. Let’s force the tax & spend crowd to do what the rest of us have to do – live within our means.

  • Rick Veitch

    The newly amended S.241 now prohibits alcohol based tinctures and oils too. If you’ve been following developments on the cannabis health benefit front, you’ll know that these oils are proving to be effective therapies against advanced stage cancers among many other things.

    Which begs the question: who would want that kind of language in a “legalization” bill?

    • Jason Wells

      Well as they have shown this has nothing to do with the people and all to do with profits. They are probably scratching their heads on trying to figure out how to tax the concentrates (oils, tinctures etc.) e.g. taxing a low thc high cbd oil and the like. Give it some time and they will have that figured out as well.

  • keith rowe
  • Jason wells

    The old bait and switch. Hate to say it but I told ya so…..The words I have for Sears and Shumlin would not be aproved here.

  • keith rowe

    This Legalization here and the current bill basically is prohibition disguised as legalization. There are codified laws that remain in effect and major penalties as well. This new bill keeps the Black market successful due to the issue of not having home grows for personal consumption or trade. This is monopoly cannabis industry just like the VOTERS of OHIO voted against. This is Marijuana Policy Project and Matt Simon and Vermont Coalition to regulate cannabis and Vermont Cannabis Collaborative taking advantage of the people of Vermont. This is not the Vermont way if you look at Vermont’s motto is Freedom and Unity well there is no unity here. The Vermont medical cannabis program here is the strictest one in country and run by law enforcement agency and not the department of Health. Then all Vermonter’s should realize that we have the right to grow Hemp under S157 and the farm bill of 2014 and the fact that hemp is cannabis just low thc of .3 content and if you go to the VCIC website or the Department of Agriculture you will find how hemp is regulated in Vermont it really is not along as you acknowledge that your breaking federal law. Vermont needs new laws that allow for Voter to be heard because giving the power to Legislators to draft what they think is best for the population of 626,000 people is just not right. Vermont’s medical program allows for 2 mature plants and 7 immature ones. Vermont’s hemp has no limits on the plants as long as you pay the 25 fee and let the department of AG know you location by GPS or 911 you can grow hemp. This Bill goes to show how uneducated the legislators are in Vermont and that try to do some historic bill on Three weeks of testimony and in a four month legislative session. This is not how Vermont want to do legalization this how several members of on committee are forcing the whole legislative body to accept the fact that Both Dick Sears and Governor Shumlin are good friends and that they are not educated in Cannabis and that the will of the people of Vermont really is not being heard.
    I am for Home Grows and fixing the medical cannabis program before a regulate corporate cannabis industry is in Vermont. People in Vermont are safe and wise and they should be awarded the ability to produce cannabis for personal use just as much as a home alcohol brewer or cheese maker. This bill should be voted against it is not the will of MANY Vermonters. .

    • Jason Wells

      Thankfully the Citizens of Ohio NOT their legislature were the informed ones voting. They wanted legalization just as bad as many Vermonters but also didn’t want “big pot” to take over thankfully they held off. Maybe we should vote against these bills too…but oh ya that’s right no ballot access in Vermont sorry the State knows best.

  • keith rowe

    Remember this bill came from the Judiciary Committee which is a law enforcement Committee. The Bill S 241 was drafted by a lawyer being Joe Banning, Jeanette White runs the oversight committee, Dick Sears is chair of the Judiciary committee this explains why there is no home grows and more law enforcement regulations in this bill. This bill should never have been sent to a law enforcement committee and next it is a not right that department of Public safety will oversee it because again that is a law enforcement agency. This is a police cannabis bill not a health and human services bill. There were no rules in the medical cannabis bill or regulations that prevented a home grower on the medical cannabis program from producing there own cannabis oil for therapeutic use now it is a crime to produce your own medicine unless you get a license to do so but only for pediatrics. They just don’t have the education especially the members of the Judiciary committee. I can attest to that because I spoke with Mr. Sears and he said I know little about marijuana especially medical and oils and tinctures and other stuff. This bill should stay out of the already existing Vermont Medical Cannabis program.

  • It’s clear that establishment politicians ( like Gov. Shumlin) see a great opportunity in marijuana legalization-not for all Vermonters, but for their friends in the favored 1%. By moving to make homegrown illegal for average Vermont citizens, they can steer the annual $150 million industry monopoly to their cronies. To top it off, putting 25% of the tax revenues into more police enforcement and surveillance of home growers serves to further protect the profits for those select few who will have the monopoly on growing. Supposedly, Colorado was “studied” by Vermont “leaders” as a possible model for Vermont. We were told Vermont will do this the “Vermont Way.” Colorado allows homegrown and kicks tax money back to the local communities. If rounding up VT citizen growers and giving away monopolies to the very few is the Vermont Way, let’s call it what it really is: the “Monopoly for the 1% Way.”

  • “Sears said he won’t vote for the final bill if it allows homegrown marijuana. “I’ve come a long way from last October,” Sears said. “If I vote no, I’ll still live. If I vote yes, I’ll live too.”

    Obviously, the good senator hasn’t come far enough. A couple of plants for personal consumption should in no way be a crime! Let’s be realistic.

  • Theo Talcott

    Vermont, get this right. We want to promote small farmers, local economy, home industry.
    Vermont’s gov’t elites go to public eco-events like the wonderful VECAN conference and the VCRD’s Climate Economy Summit at VT-Tech on Feb 22, and they swear oaths to Bill McKibben and solving the Climate Crisis. I know Shumlin went to Paris for the COP21 Climate talks and wants to be a Climate Champion. Well then, integrate the Climate Crisis to unleashing Hemp and Medical Cannabis and move Vermont’s economy forward for real.
    No to creating big monopolies, yes to homegrown.

    And did S241 get re-written and yet keep the same number?

  • Theo Talcott

    Did they re-write S241 as a monopoly creating bill land keep the same number? Better to not do it this year than pass a phony bill. Senator Sears should be ashamed at playing politics with people’s health. Governor Shumlin should stand strong and get a bill that benefits small farmers.

    • Rick Veitch

      Theo, yes that are amending S.241 on a daily basis. After stripping out Home Grown they are using the bill to fund a massive growth of the State Police. Cops will get $2,000,000 out of the general fund up front. 25% of all tax proceeds. And 50% of all seizures.

      Crony Cannabis in action!

  • roger thomas

    Without a reasonable and sustainable positive home grown outcome, I will lobby/vote against legalization in VT! And the 14th amendment should rule, home brew = home grown to the individual toker.

  • Milton DeGeorge

    Until small growers and home growers are protected by inclusion, this bill will not have my support.

  • Santina Huskey

    http://www.wcax.com/story/31076787/drug-traffickers-seek-safe-haven-amid-legal-marijuana#

    If this is what’s happening in Colorado I can’t imagine the VT State police being able to handle and control this. Even increasing their budget 25% were going to be bringing in a lot of interesting new residents and visitors.

    • Jason Wells

      Your post exemplifies the exact reason why we should only have small grow op’s in Vermont. As it stands now the legislation provides for grow op’s up to 30,000 sq. feet yes that’s right 30,000 sq. feet read the bill! I was led to believe that one of these bills before it was reworked allowed for small growers to grow for the coop who then in turn delivers it to the retailers think Cabot Cheese.

      In Vermont there are thousands of small growers 100sq foot plots and similar who are now growing illegally selling untaxed etc any bill we pass should include these folks the majority of whom would love to be able to use their skill and talents in a legal system. Another issue is grower licenses as the bill reads now there are background checks, homeland security checks and preference is given to those already in the business or as one could say already in the monopoly. Many of these folks have records for past growing or possession and therefore have no choice but to continue growing illegally. What seems to be missed is most of the pot in VT comes from these small growers they sell to friends and family not so much for profit but to have free cannabis and pay the light bill. Were not talking cartels here were talking about your friends and neighbors.

  • David Bresett

    Legalize it and stop putting restrictions on a drug that is way better for society than any manufacture crap on the market today. The state will make a ton of money off of MJ, if these fools would come up for air and stop acting like a bunch of bureaucratic fools.

  • Michael Badamo

    This is a monopoly play and continued demonization of a harmless plant. This Cannabis proposal is an outrage and should not pass. Our budding monopolists have been haunting the statehouse for months now waiting for their opportunity. Senators White and Benning made a good faith attempt at writing in some genuine freedom. Senator Sears and Governor Shumlin have turned it into trash.

    My own objective will be to facilitate in any way possible as much low cost home growing of Cannabis as possible. Everybody who knows anything about this plant should plant seeds. We will see how successful Governor Shumlin will be at “eliminating the black market” when his hard edged plutocratic proposal continues to criminalize thousands of ordinary Vermonters.

  • Justin Turco

    It’s okay for Governor Shumlin to grow pot, but not you. Kill the whole stupid thing. Do not legalize pot! Then…for those of you who want to grow pot. Go right ahead. Don’t ask, don’t tell. And don’t be driving around!

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