Courts & Corrections

Prospects for marijuana legalization dim

Medicine Man
Marijuana plants grow at Medicine Man in Denver. Since pot was legalized in Colorado two years ago, growing operations have proliferated. Photo by Elizabeth Hewitt/VTDigger

As lawmakers wrapped up crossover week — the deadline for most legislation — one high-profile bill didn’t make the cutoff, and its future in the House is in doubt.

H.170, a bill that would legalize adult possession of limited amounts of marijuana, is still on the wall of the House Judiciary Committee.

The bill was a scaled-down version of a Senate proposal last year that would have created a Colorado-model regulated market for pot.

The House proposal does not include a regulatory structure for taxing marijuana sales. Instead, it removes all penalties for adult possession of a small amount of marijuana — a model adopted in Washington, D.C. Sponsors dubbed the measure “decrim 2.0” and billed it as an add-on to a 2014 Vermont law that decriminalized possession of less than 1 ounce.

Under current law, possession of less than an ounce is punishable by a civil fine, rather than a criminal penalty.

Read VTDigger’s series on the impact of legalization on Colorado.

Decrim 2.0 debuted with strong support from the leadership in the Judiciary Committee. It even had the backing of Rep. Tom Burditt, R-West Rutland, whose dissenting vote last year helped extinguish a Senate marijuana legalization bill.

Through committee review, this year’s proposal was downgraded in scope. The panel started with a provision that would have legalized possession of up to 2 ounces of marijuana, but then dropped the amount to 1 ounce. The current draft would allow for possession of up to two mature plants.

But as the committee worked furiously to pass out several measures ahead of crossover deadline, H.170 was not among them.

Rep. Chip Conquest, D-Wells River. File photo by Elizabeth Hewitt/VTDigger

The inertia fueled speculation that there is not support for the bill on the House floor. The legislation was not on House Speaker Mitzi Johnson’s list of high-priority bills.

Rep. Chip Conquest, D-Wells River, the committee vice chair and a sponsor of the legislation, said he has not given up hope that the bill could move forward.

“We’re not taking any more testimony. We’ve done our work,” he said. “Those of us in the committee would like to see progress.”

House Minority Leader Don Turner, R-Milton, said the failure to meet Friday’s crossover deadline is an indication the bill doesn’t have the votes.

“My understanding is that there is not enough support on the floor to pass the bill in its current status,” Turner said.

The bill is not a partisan issue, he said, though many House Republicans oppose it.

House Majority Leader Jill Krowinski, D-Burlington, said leadership is working with members to answer questions about the bill.

“People are still looking for more information,” Krowinski said.

JILL KROWINSKI
House Majority Leader Jill Krowinski, D-Burlington. File photo

As many members of the House Judiciary Committee had questions about the proposal, many other representatives do as well, she said.

“We’re not going to rush that. We’re going to do it right,” Krowinski said.

Asked if failure to move the bill out of committee by crossover deadline meant the bill would not move forward, Krowinski said, “No.”

The bill could pass out of House committees and move on to the Senate Rules Committee.

Sen. Dick Sears, D-Bennington, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he will be willing to take the measure up if the House panel moves forward by Friday.

Sears is a key supporter of legalization.

“The majority of my committee, which hasn’t changed since last year, would prefer a regulated system,” Sears said. “In the course of a legislative session, there’s always compromise that occurs.”

“We believe that having at least a vote in the House, a positive vote in the House, would be a good step forward,” Sears said.

Pro and con advocates press ahead

As prospects for the bill to meet crossover deadline dimmed Friday, legalization opponents gathered in the Statehouse to urge lawmakers to oppose H.170, as well as a bill that would expand the state’s medical marijuana system, S.16.

Mariah Sanderson, of the Vermont chapter of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, said legalization and the loosening of restrictions on medical marijuana could result in more young people believing marijuana use does not have risks. She said as a mother and a Vermont resident, she fears the impact changes in marijuana law would have on communities.

Merkel
Vergennes Police Chief George Merkel at a meeting of the Vermont Criminal Justice Training Council. File photo by Elizabeth Hewitt/VTDigger

She asked lawmakers not to rush into changes in marijuana policy. “When it comes to creating sensible drug policy, this is not a race to see who should get there first,” she said.

Vergennes Police Chief George Merkel, president of the Vermont Police Association, thanked legislators “for hearing the concerns of law enforcement” and not passing H.170.

“We have concerns about the safety of our children, the safety of our communities, their health and welfare and the safety of our highways,” Merkel said. “We’re glad the legislators heard our message and followed our lead.”

But advocates for legalization remain optimistic that a bill could move forward this year.

Matt Simon of the Marijuana Policy Project said there is an appetite for legalization in the Senate, which means the crossover deadline could be more flexible — but the delayed vote did raise some concerns, he said.

“It’s not dead, but we need people to call and email their representatives if they want this to happen,” Simon said.

Simon urged Vermonters to support the measure, noting that legalization is already moving forward in the nearby states of Massachusetts and Maine.

“In our view, this is the very least that Vermont should be doing in the year 2017,” Simon said. “There’s just no reason not to do this.”

Mariah Sanderson, of SAM-VT, urges lawmakers to oppose a bill that would legalize limited amounts of marijuana. Photo by Elizabeth Hewitt/VTDigger
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  • Edward Letourneau

    With all the drug problems and poverty we have — with all the attendant issues, like not being able to get a job if you can’t pass the drug test — you would think these people would be working on things that better the state.

    • robert bristow-johnson

      This will better the state, Edward.

      Which kills people? Guns or pot?

      Which is liberally regulated in Vermont?

      • James Boudreau

        Drugs…drugs kill more people!

        • Brian Kelly

          If I were you and worried so much about drugs that kill people and “saving all of us” adults from ourselves, well then, I’d begin with the deadliest drug. Which causes more broken homes, domestic violence, and traffic fatalities than all other drugs, combined. That most dangerous and deadly drug is alcohol.

          Yet alcohol remains perfectly legal, widely accepted, endlessly advertised, even glorified as an All American pastime.

          Why doesn’t the much more prevalent, more widely abused, use of alcohol concern you much more than marijuana which is a relatively benign drug when compared to all other ones?

          Protesting the legality of booze should be your number one priority if you are truly so concerned about drugs that kill people “saving us all” from ourselves.

          • Glenn Thompson

            “That most dangerous and deadly drug is alcohol.”

            Oh Stop it! To make that claim is totally false. If you are going to compare a glass of wine and a bottle of beer to the negative impacts of being addicted to the likes of Opiates, you instantly lose your argument and credibility.

          • Mike Ferland

            It’s surprising how many people come out of the woodwork to defend such a vile and dangerous substance like alcohol. Sure alcohol can be safe in small controlled dosages – but how many people drink booze just to have one properly portioned size drink? not many. Think about how folks “pregame” before going to the bar in hopes they will shine like a social butterfly at karaoke night. Did they use a “road soda” to pregame? or did they drink 2-4 drinks before getting in the car? Responsible alcohol use does exist but the majority of alcohol users do not.

      • Bob Orleck

        Robert: You mentioned guns. They don’t kill people but people with guns do. People with airplanes have flown them into buildings but we don’t accuse planes of killing people. Marijuana does not kill either but people under the influence of marijuana do. Can’t you see that?

        • Mike Ferland

          True – but alcohol has killed more people directly and indirectly than marijuana ever will. Not to mention 63% of highschoolers are using alcohol socially vs. 21% for marijuana. I pulled these numbers from various health orgs with statistics averaged across all 50 states. Hell in CO their teen use rate for marijuana hovers around 13% which is considerably lower than the national average – but alcohol use is 67%.

          But while we are at it – let us take a moment to realize that our culture romanticizes alcohol use:

          Road Soda’s
          Pregaming before going to the bar
          Drinking games
          3 day benders…
          Biting the hair off the dog that bit you.

          I might be part of the minority of marijuana users that is responsible, and doesn’t smoke and drive or partake in those romanticized “burn turns” that some folks enjoy. But I will tell you this: I am a respected community member and leader. I have put away a child pornographer for 10 years, and I have mentored youth entering the IT profession and even been on the advisory committee for the Burlington tech center’s computer systems course. So while you may think that I am staunchly pro legalization cause I like the effects of getting stoned – I will tell you this for free my friend: I can walk without a cane because of marijuana, I quit drinking because of marijuana. It helped me in a dire time when I was dealing with physical withdrawl symptoms of alcoholism. Now I do good things and pay my property taxes on time – why not let me smoke this legally? Why not let me continue to grow my career in IT with out fear of being piss tested? You realize that the people that are hurt by this prohibition are people like me with families trying to earn an honest buck and do the right thing? I don’t want to use opiates for my knee pain, I don’t want to become a junkie – or be lumped into that same group of people.

        • robert bristow-johnson

          you need to start citing examples where the marijuana-crazed killer was killing people because of the influence of marijuana.

        • robert bristow-johnson

          still need to show *real* examples of “people under the influence of marijuana” killing people.

    • David Bell

      Higher revenue, ending police officers wasting their time on a substance less dangerous than alcohol or tobacco; yeah, no benefits to the state at all here.

      • Bob Orleck

        David: I see what you listed first and what a poor justification for the damage that will be done to our citizens. Money is the big driving force and is being pursued by some regardless of the damage to developing brains, the worsening of mental health conditions by users and the increase of death and mayhem on the highways. You pretend like your are worried about the wasted time of police officers. You should visit Vergennes and talk to the Chief there, George Merkel. He will set you straight on this issue. Poliice will be spending their time dealing with the damaging consequences from this drug that I mentioned earlier.

        The DEA in rejecting the claim that marijuana is safe and effective for use said as late as August of 2016 that “At this time the known risks of marijuana use have not been shown to be outweighed by specific benefits in well-controlled clinical trials that scientifically evaluate safety and efficacy.”

        Also there are no benefits to Vermont being one of those that thumb their law at the federal prohibition to possess. It is illegal and people who use, thinking that its OK, could find themselves someday being charged with federal crimes, could lose their employment because of use of an illegal substance and face a lot of other consequences, .

        • Jason Brisson

          Reefer Madness!

        • Mike Ferland

          I simply cannot agree with your position Bob. As a responsible user and family man – I cannot condone your position on this issue one bit. I am a fairly successful individual, been a user since 17. Did not go to college – yet I make more money than my peers, work hard, own a home, and just bought a brand new car. This is all because of my ambition and dedication to hard work and grit. I attribute this life I have to marijuana, as it has saved me from alcoholism and allows me to walk without a cane due to an injury I sustained from bullies growing up.

        • Brian Kelly

          Fear of Marijuana Legalization Nationwide is unfounded. Not based on any science or fact whatsoever. So please prohibitionists, we beg you to give your scare tactics, “Conspiracy Theories” and “Doomsday Scenarios” over the inevitable Legalization of Marijuana Nationwide a rest. Nobody is buying them anymore these days. Okay?

          Furthermore, if all prohibitionists get when they look into that nice, big and shiny crystal ball of theirs, while wondering about the future of marijuana legalization, is horror, doom, and despair, well then I suggest they return that thing as quickly as possible and reclaim the money they shelled out for it, since it’s obviously defective.

          The prohibition of marijuana has not decreased the supply nor the demand for marijuana at all. Not one single iota, and it never will. Just a huge and complete waste of our tax dollars to continue criminalizing citizens for choosing a natural, non-toxic, relatively benign plant proven to be much safer than alcohol.

          If prohibitionists are going to take it upon themselves to worry about “saving us all” from ourselves, then they need to start with the drug that causes more detriment to our society than every other drug in the world COMBINED, which is alcohol!

          Why do prohibitionists feel the continued need to vilify and demonize marijuana when they could more wisely focus their efforts on a real, proven killer, alcohol, which again causes more detriment to our society than all other drugs, COMBINED?

          Prohibitionists really should get their priorities straight and/or practice a little live and let live. They’ll live longer, happier, and healthier lives, with a lot less stress if they refrain from being bent on trying to control others through Draconian Marijuana Laws.

        • Matt Simon

          I remember when Chief Merkel set the legislature “straight” in his testimony opposing decriminalization in 2013. “Just the fact that we would decriminalize something like this shocks me,” he said. This year, in testimony for the same committee, he said “Quite frankly I think the decrim law that’s on the books now works fine.” I hope and expect that his evolution on the issue will continue.

          • Matthew Davis

            The police have no place in legislating. They enforce the laws and that is all. The fact that Merkel is lobbying on this issue is completely corrupt and he should be reigned in. Unfortunately VT is slowly becoming more of an authoritarian police state with good ol’ boys like Merkel taking the lead.

          • robert bristow-johnson

            Police can inform the political process just like any other citizens or interest groups can. But they shouldn’t be making the decisions.

          • Matthew Davis

            The police have gone way beyond “informing” on this issue, and others. They also have not been doing their homework and actually speaking to police departments in states where legalization has occurred, and instead continue to spread misinformation.

        • David Bell

          “damage to developing brains, the worsening of mental health conditions
          by users and the increase of death and mayhem on the highways”

          Your first two items would be valid if you also wanted alcohol to be illegal, the third is inaccurate at best.

          http://www.factcheck.org/2016/08/unpacking-pots-impact-in-colorado/

          “You pretend like your are worried about the wasted time of police officers.”

          No, I am worried that the police are wasting time and money on a non-chemically addictive substance less dangerous than cigarettes or alcohol. I am sure I could have found plenty of police chiefs who felt the same way about alcohol during prohibition.

          “Also there are no benefits to Vermont being one of those that thumb their law at the federal prohibition to possess.”

          Also incorrect, states sometimes lead the way in standing up to unjust or absurd laws, I would be proud to be part of a state doing so.

        • Mike Ferland

          Bob,

          I have used cannabis since I was 17. I graduated high school, tech center, and made a career for myself in information technology with no college education. I am a self starter and learn well on my own. Have a real conversation with me sometime – I bet you would not be able to distinguish me from bachelor’s degree holding boozer.

          My peers have spent $$$$$ on college educations only to make 30-40k a year. I make about 65k and I am working on getting my own business off the ground doing professional IT services and webdesign.

          Not bad for a stoner right?

    • Michael Olcott

      let turn that around. what good has been accomplished by doing this social engineering of drug testing. everywhere you look in this state there are people with such a bleak outlook that they turn to not, cannabis but to the hard drugs that are fueling our opiate crisis. where are all the prosperous healthy happy people that prohibition was supposed to create? certainly not in this state. how is that drug testing policy working out for the employers, who constantly lament they cant find quailifed workers,often to the point where they want to bring hb1’s or illegals. yeah thats worked out real well for us

      • Bob Orleck

        Michael: Do you not understand that with Vermont legalization will not come freedom to use drugs and work at certain jobs where the employer finds it wrong, dangerous, against their insurance protection or illegal for them to employ those with this drug in their system?

        While alcohol becomes undetectable in a relatively short time, that is not the case with marijuana. So when people think it will be legal for them to smoke pot during their time off, just like drinking a beer, and then return to work without consequences, they are deceived. They can go back to work with no blood alcohol but that is not so with marijuana that stays around longer. They may not show impairment but that will not matter in a construction accident case in court where it is revealed that the person dropping a tool from high up killing a fellow worker, showed positive for marijuana in their blood. Would want to take those chances if you were an employer? It will cost jobs!

        Do you really think that marijuana is the end-all for those who you say has such a “bleak outlook or has any relationship to having a “prosperous healthy happy” life? Sorry you do not know what brings true happiness, but for sure, it is not marijuana use!

        Do you really believe that marijuana will turn them from harder drugs and that it won’t to the contrary lead them to those harder ones

        Regardless of what Vermont does illegally, possession of this drug is illegal and that cannot be changed except by the federal law.

        • Michael Olcott

          Bob: Yes i DO realize that employers will continue to discriminate against consumers of cannabis,that is on them and up to them decide if they are willing to be more open minded. how many of these employers already allow anti anxiety,anti psychotics,anti depressants and T3? cannabis is little different from those when used in moderation. .
          Is it a be all end all wonder drug? no there is no such thing, however it is far less toxic to the human body ( as i’m sure you know) than the aforementioned drugs that you sold for years. Happiness is a VERY subjective thing,unique to each individual’s life. it is intellectually dishonest to imply that the cannabis user who enjoys the effects of it is any less happy than a runner at the end of a marathon or a religious person in prayer at church, or a person enjoying a 6 pack around a campfire. there is some research into using cannabis to wean people off opiates along with other courses of treatment and i know of at least 2 people who have done just that, Federal law will not change as long as the various high profit industries continue to fund the campaigns of representatives and senators. As of right now there is no Cannabis Lobby with equal funding or influence. Therefore it is up to the states,using the power of the 10 A to force this change that the feds are unwilling to do. if you believe otherwise well there is little i can discuss further with you

        • Alyce Stein

          Federal legislation to remove cannabis from Schedule 1 status has been introduced by Congressman Tom Garrett (R-VA) et. al. Text to be posted on Congress’ website, soon.

          • Mike Ferland

            god bless my conservative colleague for introducing this bill. hopefully something good will come of it.

        • Mike Ferland

          Bob – the blood test for marijuana finds by products of THC being broken down – not actual THC in the blood stream.

      • chris wilmot

        Drug testing employees is a great way to cast blame on them when they get injured on the job.
        “Our workplace is not unsafe! You were HIGH when I ran you over with my backhoe…had you not been HIGH I never would have hit you- I was just massively hungover and not paying attention…but you- you were HIGH…

  • Jon Ayers

    “Duuuude…the deadline…it already happened!”

    • Brian Kelly

      The “War on Marijuana” has been a complete and utter failure. It is the largest component of the broader yet equally unsuccessful “War on Drugs” that has cost our country over a trillion dollars.

      Instead of The United States wasting Billions upon Billions more of our tax dollars fighting a never ending “War on Marijuana”, lets generate Billions of dollars, and improve the deficit instead. It’s a no brainer.

      The Prohibition of Marijuana has also ruined the lives of many of our loved ones. In numbers greater than any other nation, our loved ones are being sent to jail and are being given permanent criminal records which ruin their chances of employment for the rest of their lives, and for what reason?

      Marijuana is much safer to consume than alcohol. Yet do we lock people up for choosing to drink?

      The government should never attempt to legislate morality by creating victim-less marijuana “crimes” because it simply does not work and costs the taxpayers a fortune.

      Marijuana Legalization Nationwide is an inevitable reality that’s approaching much sooner than prohibitionists think and there is nothing they can do to stop it!

      Legalize Nationwide! Support Each and Every Marijuana Legalization Initiative!

      • Glenn Thompson

        “Marijuana is much safer to consume than alcohol.”

        That statement is false. If you think inhaling Marijuana smoke into one’s lungs is less harmful than drinking a beer or a glass of wine…..then you really need to look into the issue using some facts.

        • Mike Ferland

          Don’t always have to smoke it! There are many solutions for this. Sure you can extract the THC and transfer it to fats like butter to be used in baking, you can also prepare a solution of PG/VG to be used for vaping (ecig style) as well as many other methods.

    • Francis Janik

      The House has extended the deadline for H.170. Please continue to contact your legislators.

  • walter carpenter

    ‘With all the drug problems and poverty we have..”

    Why don’t we make tobacco illegal? How many Vermonters does it kill a year versus marijuana. I just lost a good friend to tobacco, dead of cancer this weekend caused by smoking before he was sixty. Why is this not illegal? Tobacco is a drug as well.

    • Doug Eisler

      I would love to see it be illegal, but we just have to look at the fiasco of prohibition to see that it wouldn’t work out well.
      So for that matter, let’s not have another vice added to the list.

      • Brian Kelly

        Contrary to what prohibitionists are so desperately trying to get the public to believe wholeheartedly and without question, legalizing marijuana IS NOT adding anything new into our society that wasn’t always there and widely available already.

        Marijuana has been ingrained within our society since the days of our founding fathers and part of human culture since biblical times, for thousands of years.

        So, since marijuana has always been with us and humans already have thousands upon thousands of years worth of experience with marijuana, what great calamities and “Doomsday Scenarios” do prohibitionists really think will happen now due to current legalization efforts that have never ever happened before in all human history?

        Legalize Nationwide!

  • Willem Post

    Legalizing possession and smoking of pot in Vermont will decrease public health, just as smoking tobacco, and will increase healthcare expenses even more.
    That this issue is being discussed in the Legislature is beyond rational, in my opinion.
    Confession: I gave up smoking on the 1st of January, 1958, before most of you were born, as part of a New Year’s resolution.

    • Brian Kelly

      Marijuana consumers deserve and demand equal rights and protections under our laws that are currently afforded to the drinkers of far more dangerous and deadly, yet perfectly legal, widely accepted, endlessly advertised and even glorified as an All American pastime, booze.

      Plain and simple!

      Legalize Marijuana Nationwide!

      What we certainly don’t need are anymore people who feel justified in appointing themselves to be self-deputized morality police.

      We are very capable of choosing for ourselves if we want to consume Marijuana, a far less dangerous choice over alcohol, and we definitely don’t need anyone dictating how we live our own lives.

      We can’t lock up everyone who does things you don’t personally approve of.

      If I were you and worried so much about “saving all of us” adults from ourselves, well then, I’d begin with the deadliest drug. Which causes more broken homes, domestic violence, and traffic fatalities than all other drugs, combined. That most dangerous and deadly drug is alcohol.

      Yet alcohol remains perfectly legal, widely accepted, endlessly advertised, even glorified as an All American pastime.

      Why doesn’t the much more prevalent, more widely abused, use of alcohol concern you much more than marijuana which is a relatively benign drug when compared to all other ones?

      Protesting the legality of booze should be your number one priority if you are truly so concerned about “saving us all” from ourselves.

      Fear of Marijuana Legalization Nationwide is unfounded. Not based on any science or fact whatsoever. So please prohibitionists, we beg you to give your scare tactics, “Conspiracy Theories” and “Doomsday Scenarios” over the inevitable Legalization of Marijuana Nationwide a rest. Nobody is buying them anymore these days. Okay?

      Furthermore, if all prohibitionists get when they look into that nice, big and shiny crystal ball of theirs, while wondering about the future of marijuana legalization, is horror, doom, and despair, well then I suggest they return that thing as quickly as possible and reclaim the money they shelled out for it, since it’s obviously defective.

    • Alyce Stein

      From what I understand, most people don’t smoke – they vape. Vaping is not “like smoking tobacco.”

      Congratulations on NOT smoking tobacco.

      • Mike Ferland

        E-cig enthusiast here – my longest and best attempts at quitting smoking were with e-cigs. They are quite remarkable.

        • Alyce Stein

          Thanks for the e-cig recommendation, Mike. I’m pretty allergic to smoke of any kind…
          As a side note, we’ve spent a fortune on college costs and I’m not sure it was worth it!

  • Brian Kelly

    It’s time for us, the majority of The People to take back control of our national marijuana policy. By voting OUT of office any and all politicians who very publicly and vocally admit to having an anti-marijuana, prohibitionist agenda! Time to vote’em all OUT of office. Period. Plain and simple.

    Politicians who continue to demonize Marijuana, Corrupt Law Enforcement Officials who prefer to ruin peoples lives over Marijuana possession rather than solve real crimes who fund their departments toys and salaries with monies acquired through Marijuana home raids, seizures and forfeitures, and so-called “Addiction Specialists” who make their income off of the judicial misfortunes of our citizens who choose marijuana, – Your actions go against The Will of The People and Your Days In Office Are Numbered! Find new careers before you don’t have one.

    The People have spoken! Get on-board with Marijuana Legalization Nationwide, or be left behind and find new careers. Your choice.

    Legalize Nationwide!

  • chris wilmot

    They spent all their time trying to keep illegals in the state rather than working for the citizens of vt. Clearly these are jobs that they are no longer willing to do. Representing Vermont and it citizens is just to hard of work

  • Matthew Davis

    And Vt will continue to become a backwater of economic development and a home for the aged and decrepit as all the young people leave to pursue their dreams elsewhere where marijuana is legal, economic development is a priority, personal freedom is celebrated and mandated and progress is the norm.

    • Alyce Stein

      Yes, that is possible. It is also conceivable that common sense, foresight and financial perks will incentivize our elected officials to focus on the entire forest,
      not just a single tree.

      • Michael Olcott

        Yes by all means let us focus on our forests. i know you’re using
        metaphor but you do realize that given the demonization of this plant
        for decades and powerful lobbies that fund this madness we will never
        see widespread use of this plant. modern technology could make use of
        all of its components. yes i know hemp is different but as long as we
        set arbitrary limits on the levels of THC allowed for commercial use and
        everything else remains against the law because its considered a ‘Drug’
        we will continue to rely on using trees and petroleum instead of
        hemp/cannabis. VT is supposed to be the green mountain state and prides
        itself on it environmental friendly policies. well there is NO Other
        Plant that acts as efficiently to sequester CO2. and the only way that
        we will ever beat these aforementioned lobbies to set this free is to go
        state by state using the 10A untill the feds finally relent. thats how
        our system was designed to work.

        • Alyce Stein

          The forest – tree metaphor is referring to legislators – urging them to look at the ENTIRE landscape as they cast their ballot. Things could go poorly, OR, perhaps, this time elected officials will use foresight and common sense before they cast their vote. Financially, well, perhaps some additional funds in the state’s coffers won’t be such a bad thing.

          I fully agree with your point about our youth leaving the state, etc. Moreover, I know, firsthand, about the medicinal value of cannabis and the dire need for continued research as exemplified by Tikun Olam (Israel), for example.

          You and I are very much on the same page. I hope our legislative body is, as well.

  • Chloe Higgs

    Who funds this?
    Vermont chapter of Smart Approaches to Marijuana

  • Michael Olcott

    So it missed the crossover date due to being stalled in committee
    AGAIN?! thankfully they are still going to work on it. i have lost all
    respect for these politico’s that are so sick with reefer madness that
    they need to hear the same testimony that has been given to BOTH the
    house
    and the senate for what?, 3 years now? what recourse do the people of
    VT have other than ‘vote for someone else yut yut’ Give the people of VT
    a Ballot Amendment to our state constitution and WE will make the
    choice for you so you can go all pontius pilate and wash your hands of
    this and so many other things that seem to NEVER BE RESOLVED no matter
    who we send to the capital.