Today Vermont’s Governor Peter Shumlin delivered his State of the State address. A significant portion of it involved marijuana legalization. Governor Shumlin came out with strong statements in support of marijuana legalization. 2016 is going to be a big year for marijuana legalization, and Vermont is considered by many to be one of the most likely states to legalize marijuana via legislative action, which has yet to happen in America. Below is what Peter Shumlin said today, via activist Matt Simon’s Facebook page:
“The outdated War on Drugs has also failed, and there is no greater example than our nation’s marijuana laws. That’s why Vermont took steps to change our criminal penalties and to institute a well-regulated medical marijuana system that now serves 2,400 Vermonters. This careful approach shows thatwe know how to regulate marijuana thoughtfully and cautiously, avoiding the pitfalls that have caused other states to stumble where Vermont succeeded.
But the black market of drug dealers selling marijuana for recreational use is alive and well, serving over 80,000 Vermonters who reported using marijuana last year. These illegal dealers couldn’t care less how young their customers are or what’s in the product they sell, or what illegal drugs you buy from their stash, much less whether they pay taxes on their earnings. That’s why I will work with you to craft the right bill that thoughtfully and carefully eliminates the era of prohibition that is currently failing us so miserably.
To do it right, we must do it deliberately, cautiously, step by step, and not all in one leap as we legislate the lessons learned from the states that went before us. I will insist on five things before I’ll sign a bill.
— First, a legal market must keep marijuana and other drugs out of the hands of underage kids. The current system doesn’t. Our new system must.
— Second, the tax imposed must be low enough to wipe out the black market and get rid of the illegal drug dealers.
— Third, revenue from legalization must be used to expand addiction prevention programs.
— Fourth, we must strengthen law enforcement’s capacity to improve our response to impaired drivers under the influence of Marijuana who are already on Vermont’s roads.
— Fifth, take a hard lesson learned from other states and ban the sale of edibles until other states figure out how to do it right.
I understand that the Senate will go first and I look forward to working with Senate Pro Tem John Campbell, Senate Leadership, Senator Sears, and the Senate Judiciary Committee to construct a sensible, cautious bill. We have a history of tackling difficult issues with respect and care, the Vermont way. I believe we have the capacity to take this next step and get marijuana legalization done right.”