Patrick Kennedy weighs in on marijuana debate - VTDigger

Patrick Kennedy weighs in on marijuana debate

Former U.S. Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy is urging a Vermont legislative panel not to move forward with a bill, H.170, that would legalize adult possession of limited amounts of marijuana.

Kennedy, son of the late Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy, urged lawmakers in a letter dated March 15 to oppose the bill “so that Vermont children can grow up in healthy environments, and Vermont communities remain safe.”

“Like you, I do not want to see anyone jailed for personal amounts of marijuana or their opportunities in life ruined because of a past personal-use pot conviction,” Kennedy wrote. “However, the amount of marijuana allowed in this bill would not just be for personal use, but allow cultivation of massive amounts of marijuana far beyond the needs of one person.”

Kennedy, who has been a public advocate on issues related to mental health and substance abuse, is an honorary adviser to the national group Smart Approaches to Marijuana.

He argues that the bill would have serious public health and safety consequences, including increasing drug-impaired driving. It would “invite organized criminal groups to take advantage of the law to ‘hide in plain sight,’” he wrote.

But advocates for the bill dismissed Kennedy’s critique.

Dave Silberman, an advocate in favor of marijuana legalization in Vermont, responded that to him SAM is an “organization without credibility.”

“They claim to be for something other than prohibition, and yet every single proposal to do anything other than prohibition, whether it be decriminalization, whether it be medical marijuana, whether it be personal home grow, they oppose and oppose vociferously,” Silberman said.

Elizabeth Hewitt

Comment Policy requires that all commenters identify themselves by their authentic first and last names. Initials, pseudonyms or screen names are not permissible.

No personal harrassment, abuse, or hate speech is permitted. Be succinct and to the point. Comments should be 1000 characters or fewer. If your comment is over 500 words, consider sending a commentary instead.

We personally review and moderate every comment that is posted here. This takes a lot of time; please consider donating to keep the conversation productive and informative.

The purpose of this policy is to encourage a civil discourse among readers who are willing to stand behind their identities and their comments. VTDigger has created a safe zone for readers who wish to engage in a thoughtful discussion on a range of subjects. We hope you join the conversation. If you have questions or concerns about our commenting platform, please review our Commenting FAQ.

Privacy policy
Thanks for reporting an error with the story, "Patrick Kennedy weighs in on marijuana debate"