vermont marijuana decriminalization
Ending Marijuana Prohibition

Vermont House Shoots Down Marijuana Legalization Efforts

vermont marijuana decriminalizationBy Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

Members of the Vermont House spent over six hours today debating various amendments to reform marijuana policy, but ultimately decided against enacting any significant changes in law.

House lawmakers voted 121 to 28 to reject Senate-approved language that sought to regulate the adult use, commercial production, and retail sale of marijuana. Although Gov. Peter Shumlin and Attorney General William Sorrell publicly supported the effort, House members expressed little interest in seriously considering the measure.

House members also rejected an alternative measure that sought to expand the state’s existing decriminalization law to also include the personal cultivation of marijuana. Representatives voted 77 to 70 to reject the ammendment.

Representatives also debated whether or not to put forward the question, “Should Vermont legalize marijuana for recreational purposes?” before voters as a non-binding initiative during the upcoming August primary election. Lawmakers decided against the proposal by a vote of 97 to 51.

House lawmakers narrowly voted 77 to 68 in favor of provisions establishing an advisory commission to make recommendations to the legislature with regard to future marijuana policy. Specifically, the commission would be tasked with “propos[ing] a comprehensive regulatory and revenue structure that establishes controlled access to marijuana in a manner that, when compared to the current illegal marijuana market, increases public safety and reduces harm to public health.” Those recommendations would be due by December 15, 2016.

House and Senate lawmakers previously approved a study commission in 2014. That commission’s report summarized various alternative regulatory schemes but made no recommendations with regard to if and how lawmakers should ultimately amend state law.

The amended measure now awaits a concurrence vote by the Senate.

In a statement issued Tuesday evening, Gov. Shumlin said, “It is incredibly disappointing … that a majority of the House has shown a remarkable disregard for the sentiment of most Vermonters who understand that we must pursue a smarter policy when it comes to marijuana in this state.”

Source: NORML - make a donation

  • saynotohypocrisy

    Overgrow the alcohol supremacist bigot pigs

  • JohnB

    The most egregious of all these actions is the refusal to let the people – you know, the ACTUAL bosses of public policy – have a vote on the issue.

    Each elected official who voted against letting the people decide has effectively said that they don’t want or believe in democracy.

    • myconaut

      Even if their proposal to allow a vote would have passed, it would have been a complete sham. It would have been a nonbinding referendum that would have gone on the August primary ballot, where turnout would be low, and not the November general election ballot, in an obvious attempt to minimize chances of passage. These politicians do not serve the people of their state, who clearly wanted legalization and instead got the shaft.

      The best news about this outcome is that at least it is now on record how these legislators voted, and the citizens of Vermont will know who to punish in the next election cycle. May there be a total cleansing of the Vermont house in November.

      • Fungi Sclerotia 1427

        more so, the Vermont Senate,
        (where the worst parts of the legalization bill originated).

        • myconaut

          And the House voted down the best parts of their bill. Screw ’em all, they all deserve blame. This should be a case in point on why you don’t go out of your way to placate the prohibition lobby who have made a lucrative career out of screwing over the cannabis community with their racist war when crafting your bill, because prohibitionist demagogues are not honest brokers. They will turn everything they touch to poo, and a train wreck like this is the result.

        • calvet11

          Both the House and the Senate, throw the bastards OUT of public office.

    • calvet11

      Vote the scoundrels out ! They, (the legislature of Vermont), should be taken out of their fat cushy jobs and whipped on the steps of the capitol for not following the will of the people they are reportedly supposed to represent. Shame on them, and shame on the people of Vermont if they do not stop the scandalous behavior of their representatives.

  • skoallio

    Told you Kevin Sabet will f*ck up everything.

  • Closet Warrior

    The Socialist Republic of Vermont proposed too much of a commercialized system anyway. There were to be limited grow sites and no home growing. That says it all. Since they can’t eradicate the plant itself, they proclaim domain over it!!! Hypocrites!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • saynotohypocrisy

      Not that the capitalist loving states are any better. The hardcore capitalist states down south don’t even have medical marijuana, so it seems like they’re a lot worse.

      • Closet Warrior

        So true, unfortunately, I live in a non-medical state as well and it’s pure hell around here. Meth and heroin are everywhere, opiates and big pharma rules my state but smoke a joint and you’re on the hit list! Let it Grow, Let it Grow, Let it it Grow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Said it before and i’ll say it again: They’re only delaying the inevitable.

    • Fungi Sclerotia 1427

      Re-legalized by year 2061, 2160 or by year 2610?

  • MJ Android

    Its already legal there, use, grow and share in any way you like! Yeah we wish. So enough bs, this is everyone’s plant and its mine and your human right to use marijuana. Let’s not take it anymore, free it!

    • saynotohypocrisy

      Overgrow the booze loving creeps

  • wowFAD

    What we saw in Vermont’s legislature today is a perfect example of what occurs among activists all the time — everyone wants to be the one who had “the best way” of doing things. Here is a link to the journal of today’s proceedings from the Vermont House:

    http://legislature.vermont.gov/assets/Documents/2016/Docs/JOURNAL/hj160503.pdf#page=104

    I’ve combed through the document for a few hours trying to make sense of it. It appears as though everything from page 104 to 155 is the original Senate bill, S241. That bill rigorously detailed the setup of a regulated commercial market, but would not have allowed home cultivation or edibles (establishing a study committee to examine these issues).

    It appears as if home cultivation vs. a regulated market was a real sticking point for this vote. I think that is the case because they start chopping up S241 on page 155, when Representatives Conquest (D), Copeland-Hanzas (D), Grad (D), Komline (R), Olsen (I), and Young (D) proposed scrapping the bulk of the bill, replacing it with the smaller bill that would allow for the home cultivation of two plants, but no regulated commercial market. That’s the “expansion” to decriminalization measure, in a nut-shell. The original senate bill would have been a full regulated market without home cultivation (pending an investigative study), while the revised version stripped out the regulated market and inserted the two-plant home cultivation provision.

    That’s where it all started falling apart. 121 voted to strip commercial, adding in two-plant home grow — all 53 Republicans, 6 Independents, and a mixed bag of Democrats. 28 voted against stripping out the regulated market parts and substituting the decriminalization expansion (two-plants). All of those 28 people are listed as Progressives and Democrats.

    Representative Grad (D), who was one of the yea-votes and also proposed amending S241, said that he did so because “My vote to strike S.241 is a vote against creating a large scale commercial market that does not allow for small scale growing for personal use or does not further the role of small growers and community supported agriculture. S.241 is not the Vermont way.”

    Representative Klein (D), who voted against amending S241 said “I vote no, which in fact, Mr. Speaker, is a yes vote for the legalization of marijuana! Long overdue!!!”

    So they stripped commercial growing by 121 to 28, substituting in the two-plant home cultivation expansion of their decriminalization law. After more discussion of amendments to the amendment, the final version of the bill, reduced to no commercial market and a two-plant home cultivation expansion of their decriminalization law, they sat down to vote on whether it should be sent back for approval from the Senate, which was very narrow (77 to 68), with almost every Republican (except one) voting to kill the bill on the House floor.

    I’m going to attach a reply to this already-too-long comment with a list of all the Yea and Nay votes for both the initial 121-28 vote to amend and the final 77-68 vote to send the amended version back to the Senate with political party appended. The House proceedings document doesn’t specify political party in the vote record. As I said, every Republican except ONE (Baser of Bristol who DID vote affirmative to send it to the Senate) voted against sending the bill back to the Senate for consideration, which means 52 Republicans (including Patricia Komline of Dorset who moved to amend S241 in the first place) voted to change the bill, then subsequently voted to kill the bill on the House floor. This vote disgusts me.

    What happened today in Vermont is a case of divide and conquer. A small group of Democrats convinced a huge chunk of their spineless, waffling cohorts to vote with Republicans (121-28) to amend the bill, only to have those Republicans (including Patricia Komline, one of the amendment co-sponsors) turn around and vote against progressing the bill they voted to change. Usually, when a bill is amended, it’s amended to INCREASE consensus, not decrease it. The amendment vote and the subsequent vote to send it to the Senate were nothing but a ploy to undermine legalization in Vermont, and DOZENS of Democrats fell for it.

    There is an important lesson for us to learn, especially if you’re one of the people claiming that other states with other initiatives should wait on something else — those of you with the “no, something ELSE” attitude are doing prohibitionists’ work for them. They don’t need to fight us if we’re busy fighting each other. Vermont may get nothing this year because of those attitudes. The ego and narcissism of thinking we can/should get it perfect the first time (and *my* way is perfect) may ultimately cost us everything. If we don’t get our act together, our bickering, infighting, and our crippling inability to reach consensus will result in 40 more years of prohibition.

    • wowFAD

      The original 121-28 vote to amend S241 from a full commercial system with no cultivation to no commercial system and two-plants home cultivation:
      Those who voted in the AFFIRMATIVE (121) are:
      Ancel of Calais (D)
      Bancroft of Westford (R)
      Baser of Bristol (R)
      Batchelor of Derby (R)
      Beck of St. Johnsbury (R)
      Berry of Manchester (D)
      Beyor of Highgate (R)
      Bissonnette of Winooski (D)
      Botzow of Pownal (D)
      Branagan of Georgia (R)
      Brennan of Colchester (R)
      Briglin of Thetford (D)
      Browning of Arlington (D)
      Burditt of West Rutland (R)
      Buxton of Tunbridge (D)
      Canfield of Fair Haven (R)
      Christie of Hartford (D)
      Clarkson of Woodstock (D)
      Condon of Colchester (D)
      Connor of Fairfield (D)
      Conquest of Newbury (D)
      Copeland-Hanzas of Bradford (D)
      Cupoli of Rutland City (R)
      Dakin of Chester (D)
      Dakin of Colchester (D)
      Dame of Essex (R)
      Deen of Westminster (D)
      Devereux of Mount Holly (R)
      Dickinson of St. Albans Town (R)
      Donahue of Northfield (R)
      Eastman of Orwell (I)
      Emmons of Springfield (D)
      Evans of Essex (D)
      Fagan of Rutland City (R)
      Feltus of Lyndon (R)
      Fields of Bennington (D)
      Fiske of Enosburgh (R)
      Forguites of Springfield (D)
      Frank of Underhill (D)
      French of Randolph (D)
      Gage of Rutland City (R)
      Gamache of Swanton (R)
      Grad of Moretown (D)
      Graham of Williamstown (R)
      Greshin of Warren (I)
      Head of South Burlington (D)
      Hebert of Vernon (R)
      Helm of Fair Haven (R)
      Higley of Lowell (R)
      Hooper of Montpelier (D)
      Hubert of Milton (R)
      Huntley of Cavendish (D)
      Jerman of Essex (D)
      Jewett of Ripton (D)
      Johnson of South Hero (D)
      Juskiewicz of Cambridge (R)
      Keenan of St. Albans City (D)
      Kitzmiller of Montpelier (D)
      Komline of Dorset (R)
      Krebs of South Hero (D)
      LaClair of Barre Town (R)
      Lalonde of South Burlington (D)
      Lanpher of Vergennes (D)
      Lawrence of Lyndon (R)
      Lefebvre of Newark (R)
      Lenes of Shelburne (D)
      Lewis of Berlin (R)
      Lippert of Hinesburg (D)
      Long of Newfane (D)
      Lucke of Hartford (D)
      Macaig of Williston (D)
      Marcotte of Coventry (R)
      Martel of Waterford (R)
      Martin of Wolcott (D)
      Masland of Thetford (D)
      McCoy of Poultney (R)
      McFaun of Barre Town (R)
      Morris of Bennington (D)
      Morrissey of Bennington (R)
      Mrowicki of Putney (D)
      Murphy of Fairfax (I)
      Myers of Essex (R)
      Nuovo of Middlebury (D)
      O’Brien of Richmond (D)
      Olsen of Londonderry (I)
      Parent of St. Albans Town (R)
      Pearce of Richford (R)
      Poirier of Barre City (I)
      Potter of Clarendon (D)
      Pugh of South Burlington (D)
      Purvis of Colchester (R)
      Quimby of Concord (R)
      Ram of Burlington (D)
      Russell of Rutland City (D)
      Ryerson of Randolph (D)
      Savage of Swanton (R)
      Scheuermann of Stowe (R)
      Shaw of Pittsford (R)
      Shaw of Derby (R)
      Sheldon of Middlebury (D)
      Sibilia of Dover (I)
      Smith of New Haven (R)
      Stevens of Waterbury (D)
      Strong of Albany (R)
      Stuart of Brattleboro (D)
      Sweaney of Windsor (D)
      Tate of Mendon (R)
      Terenzini of Rutland Town (R)
      Till of Jericho (D)
      Toll of Danville (D)
      Townsend of South Burlington (D)
      Turner of Milton (R)
      Van Wyck of Ferrisburgh (R)
      Viens of Newport City (R)
      Walz of Barre City (D)
      Webb of Shelburne (D)
      Willhoit of St. Johnsbury (R)
      Wood of Waterbury (D)
      Wright of Burlington (R)
      Yantachka of Charlotte (D)
      Young of Glover (D)

      Those who voted in the NEGATIVE (28) are:
      Bartholomew of Hartland (D)
      Burke of Brattleboro (P)
      Carr of Brandon (D)
      Chesnut-Tangerman of Middletown Springs (P)
      Cole of Burlington (D)
      Corcoran of Bennington (D)
      Davis of Washington (P)
      Donovan of Burlington (D)
      Gonzalez of Winooski (P)
      Haas of Rochester (P)
      Klein of East Montpelier (D)
      Krowinski of Burlington (D)
      Manwaring of Wilmington (D)
      McCormack of Burlington (D)
      McCullough of Williston (D)
      Miller of Shaftsbury (D)
      O’Sullivan of Burlington (D)
      Partridge of Windham (D)
      Patt of Worcester (D)
      Pearson of Burlington (P)
      Rachelson of Burlington (D)
      Sharpe of Bristol (D)
      Sullivan of Burlington (D)
      Toleno of Brattleboro (D)
      Trieber of Rockingham (D)
      Troiano of Stannard (D)
      Woodward of Johnson (D)
      Zagar of Barnard (D)

      • wowFAD

        The final 77-68 vote to send the amended version back to the Senate for consideration. As you can see, all Republicans in Vermont (except one) voted to kill this bill after they voted to gut the regulated market provisions. 15 Democrats did the same. Had this vote failed, no cannabis bill in Vermont this year at all — it would have died on the House floor:
        Those who voted in the AFFIRMATIVE (77) are:
        Ancel of Calais (D)
        Bartholomew of Hartland (D)
        Baser of Bristol (R)
        Berry of Manchester (D)
        Botzow of Pownal (D)
        Briglin of Thetford (D)
        Burke of Brattleboro (P)
        Buxton of Tunbridge (D)
        Carr of Brandon (D)
        Chesnut-Tangerman of Middletown Springs (P)
        Christie of Hartford (D)
        Clarkson of Woodstock (D)
        Cole of Burlington (D)
        Condon of Colchester (D)
        Connor of Fairfield (D)
        Conquest of Newbury (D)
        Copeland-Hanzas of Bradford (D)
        Corcoran of Bennington (D)
        Davis of Washington (P)
        Deen of Westminster (D)
        Donovan of Burlington (D)
        Eastman of Orwell (I)
        Emmons of Springfield (D)
        Feltus of Lyndon (R)
        Fields of Bennington (D)
        Forguites of Springfield (D)
        French of Randolph (D)
        Gonzalez of Winooski (P)
        Grad of Moretown (D)
        Greshin of Warren (I)
        Haas of Rochester (P)
        Head of South Burlington (D)
        Hooper of Montpelier (D)
        Huntley of Cavendish (D)
        Jewett of Ripton (D)
        Johnson of South Hero (D)
        Keenan of St. Albans City (D)
        Kitzmiller of Montpelier (D)
        Klein of East Montpelier (D)
        Krebs of South Hero (D)
        Krowinski of Burlington (D)
        Lalonde of South Burlington (D)
        Lanpher of Vergennes (D)
        Lippert of Hinesburg (D)
        Long of Newfane (D)
        Lucke of Hartford (D)
        Macaig of Williston (D)
        Martin of Wolcott (D)
        Masland of Thetford (D)
        McCormack of Burlington (D)
        McCullough of Williston (D)
        Miller of Shaftsbury (D)
        Morris of Bennington (D)
        Mrowicki of Putney (D)
        Olsen of Londonderry (I)
        Partridge of Windham (D)
        Patt of Worcester (D)
        Pearson of Burlington (P)
        Rachelson of Burlington (D)
        Ram of Burlington (D)
        Sharpe of Bristol (D)
        Sheldon of Middlebury (D)
        Sibilia of Dover (I)
        Stevens of Waterbury (D)
        Stuart of Brattleboro (D)
        Sullivan of Burlington (D)
        Sweaney of Windsor (D)
        Toleno of Brattleboro (D)
        Townsend of South Burlington (D)
        Trieber of Rockingham (D)
        Troiano of Stannard (D)
        Walz of Barre City (D)
        Webb of Shelburne (D)
        Wood of Waterbury (D)
        Yantachka of Charlotte (D)
        Young of Glover (D)
        Zagar of Barnard (D)

        Those who voted in the NEGATIVE (68) are:
        Bancroft of Westford (R)
        Batchelor of Derby (R)
        Beck of St. Johnsbury (R)
        Beyor of Highgate (R)
        Bissonnette of Winooski (D)
        Branagan of Georgia (R)
        Brennan of Colchester (R)
        Browning of Arlington (D)
        Burditt of West Rutland (R)
        Canfield of Fair Haven (R)
        Cupoli of Rutland City (R)
        Dakin of Chester (D)
        Dakin of Colchester (D)
        Dame of Essex (R)
        Devereux of Mount Holly (R)
        Dickinson of St. Albans Town (R)
        Donahue of Northfield (R)
        Evans of Essex (D)
        Fagan of Rutland City (R)
        Fiske of Enosburgh (R)
        Frank of Underhill (D)
        Gage of Rutland City (R)
        Gamache of Swanton (R)
        Hebert of Vernon (R)
        Helm of Fair Haven (R)
        Higley of Lowell (R)
        Hubert of Milton (R)
        Jerman of Essex (D)
        Juskiewicz of Cambridge (R)
        Komline of Dorset (R)
        LaClair of Barre Town (R)
        Lawrence of Lyndon (R)
        Lefebvre of Newark (R)
        Lenes of Shelburne (D)
        Lewis of Berlin (R)
        Manwaring of Wilmington (D)
        Marcotte of Coventry (R)
        Martel of Waterford (R)
        McCoy of Poultney (R)
        McFaun of Barre Town (R)
        Morrissey of Bennington (R)
        Murphy of Fairfax (I)
        Myers of Essex (R)
        Nuovo of Middlebury (D)
        O’Brien of Richmond (D)
        Parent of St. Albans Town (R)
        Pearce of Richford (R)
        Poirier of Barre City (I)
        Potter of Clarendon (D)
        Pugh of South Burlington (D)
        Purvis of Colchester (R)
        Quimby of Concord (R)
        Russell of Rutland City (D)
        Savage of Swanton (R)
        Scheuermann of Stowe (R)
        Shaw of Pittsford (R)
        Shaw of Derby (R)
        Smith of New Haven (R)
        Strong of Albany (R)
        Tate of Mendon (R)
        Terenzini of Rutland Town (R)
        Till of Jericho (D)
        Toll of Danville (D)
        Turner of Milton (R)
        Van Wyck of Ferrisburgh (R)
        Viens of Newport City (R)
        Willhoit of St. Johnsbury (R)
        Wright of Burlington (R)

    • michael_ellis

      Your last paragraph — Amen! Preach it, brother.

  • Sensible advocate

    Seems like there were too many options for lawmakers to vote for that all stole votes from the others.

    Utah lawmakers recently drug the public there through the same debacle just for a restricted medical marijuana program. There was a single well vetted bill with wide majority public support. A pharmacist lawmaker introduced a CBD only bill and a Dr lawmaker introduced a “resolution” to ask the federal government to reschedule to schedule 2.

    In the end, there were so many options for lawmakers that they all had cover to do absolutely nothing for citizens who were asking for change.

  • wowFAD

    You know, I’m sympathetic to the notion that comments sometimes need approval before being posted, especially when the comment contains a URL (mine does, to a pdf of the minutes of the Vermont House). Last night, I spent about four hours examining the votes. The breakdown is long, yes, but I think it’s important to understand how the votes turned out the way they did so that people know who did what & WHY.

    So please, approve my comment. It’s been 15 hours. By the time it posts, the story will be buried. I still plan to attach a reply to it that shows how each member of the Vermont House voted (with their political party affiliation). It’s not OK for there to be 121 votes in favor of changing the bill, but only 77 votes in favor of sending it onward. One of the representatives who co-sponsored the changes subsequently voted against progressing the amended version. That’s political shenanigans, and it’s important we recognize it.

    You see, they could have left the regulated market provisions in place and just ADDED in home cultivation of two plants. However, that’s not what happened. They removed the meat of the bill — a regulated market — and tossed in a pittance of two-plant home cultivation. Home grow is important, but squashing the provisions for a regulated market ignores the large swaths of consumers who cannot grow their own, either due to a lack of skill or a lack of means. Members of the Vermont House presented a false dilemma (regulated market OR two-plants). We have to recognize it for what it was: a fallacious move to curb legalization, which apparently worked.

    The mistakes made in Vermont must be understood, lest we repeat them elsewhere. So please, approve my comment so that I can attach the supplemental information. Who voted on what is something we shouldn’t ignore.

  • Neal Pilger

    The climate is changing (actual climate, not human direction) and Vermont will likely change their minds once the sap stops flowing from their maples. USA is already spending a fortune on buying power from Quebec, they will likely not want to add maple syrup to the list.

    • Gern

      Actually, Quebec is already the biggest producer of maple syrup (they even have a strategic reserve!). The maple industry in Vermont is not what it used to be.