vermont marijuana decriminalization
Ending Marijuana Prohibition

Vermont Governor Expresses Support For Marijuana Legalization In State Of The State Address

vermont marijuana decriminalizationToday 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“The outdated War on Drugs has also failed, and there is no greater example than our nation’s marijuana laws.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.”

  • michael_ellis

    Go Vermont! Wish we had pols with half so much sense down here in N.C.

    • Tom James

      Even if the feds legalized ganga tomorrow, NC politicians wouldn’t be able to get their heads out of their asses for probably another 5 years. Good luck to you Vermonters. Peace

      • michael_ellis

        Ain’t that the truth! It’s really quite ironic considering that NC’s economy was built on the drug trade in tobacco. When I was a boy in the ’50s, we were proudly taught that NC grew half the world’s tobacco and made 2/3 of the world’s cigarettes. Our big field trip in 2nd grade was an all-day visit to a cigarette factory in Durham. Seems pretty sad in retrospect, given the enormous harms from tobacco products, but that’s the way it was back then.

        If you’re curious about what I saw that day and the attitudes around tobacco, here’s a reprint of an article written in 1949 that captures it pretty well. http://www.newsobserver.com/living/liv-columns-blogs/past-times/article27906262.html

        Tobacco farming and cigarette manufacture have declined since then. That’s a very good thing and an end to an era I now consider shameful. I’d like to think NC could embrace the opportunity to grow something a lot less harmful. We’ve got lots of land, water, sunshine and fertile soil. Alas, as you observed Tom, the recto-cranial inversion is strong in this state.

        • jontomas

          I hear Asheville’s pretty cool.

          • michael_ellis

            Yep, it’s a great little town with a lot of the same vibe as Santa Fe or Portland or Burlington VT. Beautiful scenery, great food, world-class beer and a thriving arts scene. If the rest of NC was as progressive as Asheville, we’d be well on the way to full legalization.

          • jontomas

            Yes. I used to live an hour away and was always impressed by the counter-culture there. – I would have moved back but, being an older guy, I just had to choose freedom – and the West Coast.

          • Tom James

            We live 15 minutes south of asheville and boy has that town finally sold out to alcohol. Asheville used to be a super cool funky town until the late 2000’s and you can’t even find a place to park anymore. It is the definition of a “sold out town”. Sorry to burst anyone’s bubble. Peace

          • michael_ellis

            I’m 15 minutes north and Asheville still seems fine to me after 11 years here. A case of à chacun son goût, I suppose.

  • skoallio

    I cant trust anyone after Jimmy Carter endorsed Project SAM

    • stellarvoyager

      You guys are terrified now that a state legislature will legalize herb, in a state without the initiative process. Maybe once that happens, you’ll finally shut up and go away as project SAM suffers yet another defeat, and then we can finally have a troll-free blog experience without having to scroll past all of your yammering about your butt-buddy, Kevin Sabet. Now wouldn’t that be wonderful?

    • jontomas

      Even Jimmy Carter isn’t totally objective. I’m sure he was influenced away from logic by his church-going friends and family.

  • jontomas

    Sounds good. – Though number Three stumbles on treating marijuana as addictive, when it’s not. And Four ignores research shows marijuana is not a significant cause of auto accidents.

    Other than that, it will be great progress and a great precedent for the rest of the states without a voter initiative process.

    Full speed ahead! – Experience will soon show numbers 3 and 4 weren’t necessary.

  • 2buds4me

    What is this “Ban edibles” thing in Fifth place? What does he think is the “Edibles” problem?

    • Tom E Canavan

      It was because of the scare stories about dosages being too high. Not to mention, packaging that wouldn’t influence kids to buy, etc. I’m from Vermont, and have been an activist in the movement for years. We can always tweak it after its legal. ?

      • 2buds4me

        I hope all the recent talk by your governor actually comes to fruition, must be an exciting time there. People in Arkansas keep trying, but it’s quite a hard swim up-stream here.

        Dosage can be tricky. I’ve had way too much a couple times and my mom overdid RSO one time and my brother had to sit with her and hold her head while she threw up all night long. It’s nice to know no lasting bodily harm comes from ingesting too much.

    • jontomas

      Edibles, in their current state, easily create problems of overdose. I can’t blame them for their caution. – Of course, you can still make your own edibles.

  • manuel

    your the man bro. Thanks for the hookup

  • familyguy

    Looks like VT has some politician with some good sense. Other states like the one I’m in have nothing but lazy republicans. They do not like change no matter if change is good. GOOD LUCK VT.

  • jinx1338

    I understand the edibles thing, people have a real tendency to over indulge. The problem is that they have nowhere to turn but the ER where all they do is say you are high just sleep here till you are not.

  • oldchuck

    The Vermont medical Cannabis program that the governor seems so proud of is, in my opinion, a failure. Too restrictive. Why only 2.400 patients when more than ten times that number, myself included, could benefit medically? This “legalization” initiative could turn out the same way. The bill still has not taken any final form.

  • Francis Janik

    Hi Johnny Green, I am a member of “Vermont Home Grown”. We are the force behind Senator White’s Bill S-241 here in Vermont. Find us on Face Book. We are in the meetings and yet the press continues to ignore our group. We are fighting for free home grow and open licensing for retail. Please check us out and give us some coverage! oldchuck is correct the medical program in Vermont has failed to help thousands! Vermont Home Grown will be testifying tomorrow. Please cover us!