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Vermont Marijuana Legalization Bill Wins First Committee Vote

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vermont medical marijuanaBy Phillip Smith

A bill that would legalize marijuana and allow for regulated marijuana commerce is advancing. Senate Bill 137 passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on a 4-1 vote.

The bill allows for marijuana to be sold in stores, but bans home cultivation. Only licensed commercial grows in safe, secure locations will be allowed.

The Judiciary Committee vote to advance the measure came a day after six state physicians’ groups came out against the bill, citing what they called the ill effects of marijuana.

The measure now goes to the Senate Finance Committee, Judiciary Committee Chair Richard Sears said. If the bill gets through the Senate, it is expected to face a tough battle to get through the House this year.

Peter Shumlin (D), who has endorsed the measure, pronounced himself pleased.

“I want to thank Senator Sears for his leadership and the entire Judiciary Committee for their hard work on this bill,” he said in a statement. “This legislation meets the principles I outlined in my State of the State Address and I believe it provides the framework for our state to cautiously, step-by-step and in the Vermont way end the failed war on drugs policy of marijuana prohibition. This debate is about whether we can take a smarter approach towards marijuana, which is already widely available and used by tens of thousands of Vermonters.Promoting prevention, keeping marijuana out of the hands of kids, getting rid of illegal drug dealers, and doing a better job responding to impaired drivers already on our roads, I believe this legislation is a huge improvement on the failed war on drugs,” Shumlin continued. “I look forward to working with the legislature as they continue to debate this issue.”

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  • AntiIgnorant

    It’s a start but home grows should be allowed. If you can brew your own beer, you should be able to grow your own plant.

    • Buzzby19491

      I agree, but legalization is more likely to pass with baby steps. Home growing can be added later. This is not like Ohio’s Issue 3, where a corporate monopoly would have been written into the state’s constitution.

    • michael_ellis

      I agree and, nonetheless, I try to keep in mind the “Is it better than prohibition?” test. As Buzzby noted previously, the bill doesn’t preclude that possibility of adding home grow later on.

      • Sean Joyce

        To think that a broken and inept Montpelier will take away from their new cash cow feeding their continued gluttony to give liberty back to the people is a stretch.

  • It starts with #Compassion ?

    Way to go Vermont!!! Taking the smarter approach???

  • saynotohypocrisy

    “six state physicians’ groups came out against the bill, citing what they called the ill effects of marijuana.”

    But they are perfectly fine with alcohol, an indisputably far more dangerous drug, being very freely available. If they are so worried about cannabis, they should be frantic with worry about alcohol. But they couldn’t care less about the problems being caused by legal alcohol. Who the fuck are these big pharma lackeys trying to kid?

  • calvet11

    They are perfectly fine with alcohol and Sertraline and Alprazolam These six Dr. groups are in someone’s pocket. Big pharma lackeys at the very least. You have got to be kidding me!!!!!!! no home grows! Just like almost every other state so far they will do it their way, and so far that way has always been half assed. It should all be so simple. Stupid government and stupid laws the human condition.

  • GETREAL

    This bill is doomed and will never pass. Shap Smith is against any marijuana reform. He will kill this bill in the house. Too bad Vermont didn’t have a voter referendum like Colorado,Washington,Oregon and Alaska.

    • myconaut

      Shap Smith announced his support for legalization last year. It’s as good as a done deal.

      • GETREAL

        He made the comment when he was running for governor. Now he is back as a house speaker and does not need the support of the entire state especially the Burlington area. He fought against decrim I expect the same.