Vermont Lawmakers Threaten To Reinstate Prohibition If Pot Isn’t Legalized

VERMONT: Vermont may well become the next state to legalize marijuana, and two state lawmakers who support legalization have a simple message for their colleagues: Give us what we want, or we’ll take away your booze.

A new bill filed earlier this month by state Reps. Jean O’Sullivan and Christopher Pearson would effectively reinstate alcohol prohibition in Vermont. If passed, House Bill 502 would outlaw consumption of alcohol, with penalties mirroring those currently in place for marijuana possession. Those found with small amounts of alcohol would be subject to fines of up to $500, and anyone involved in the sale and distribution stream could face up to 30 years in prison and $1 million in penalties.

O’Sullivan herself acknowledges that even she doesn’t support the substance of the bill. Rather, “the object was to basically embarrass leadership to say that we have [marijuana legalization bills] in front of us, and they’re going absolutely nowhere,” she told The Huffington Post.

Vermont Lawmaker Moves To Legalize Marijuana

VERMONT:  A state senator in Vermont on Tuesday introduced legislation to make recreational marijuana legal in Vermont that, if passed, would make the Green Mountain State the first in the U.S. to legalize through the state legislature.

Vermont state Sen. David Zuckerman’s bill, S. 95, would allow adults 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and create a regulatory structure to monitor the cultivation and sale of marijuana in the state.

The legislation would set up a Board of Marijuana Control to help implement and regulate the law and would prohibit smoking pot in public.

“More than 75 years of criminalizing marijuana has failed to prevent marijuana use,” the bill says, arguing for marijuana use to be treated similar to alcohol.





Vermonters Return From Marijuana-Policy Tour

VERMONT: Vermont leaders say touring through Colorado’s medical and recreational marijuana landscape this week gave them a lot to think about.

Nine people from Vermont, including Public Safety Commissioner Keith Flynn, Chittenden County State’s Attorney T.J. Donovan and representatives from both sides of the legalization debate, met with Colorado regulators, marijuana businesses and nonprofit organizations during the busy three-day trip.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Bill Darrow said he knew little about marijuana policy before boarding the plane to Colorado.

“I went out there thinking this was a pretty simple proposition, a binary question — yes or no, legalization?” Darrow recalled.

But the group encountered a slew of issues associated with the rising marijuana industry: For example, taxed and regulated legal sales are still more expensive than black market marijuana or medical marijuana, Darrow said.

A Dozen Ways To Legalize The Marijuana Supply Chain, In Vermont Or Any State

VERMONT:  Legalizing marijuana is not a binary choice.

After months of research, the RAND corporation on Friday released a report for the state of Vermont exploring marijuana legalization and regulation there. The 218-page report, commissioned as a result of a May law, explores every aspect, option and pathway to legalization.

The report breaks out 12 ways a state can regulate the supply of marijuana, grouped into three categories. The first category covers the two familiar models: maintaining prohibition but reducing penalties, a policy being increasingly adopted, and the commercialization Colorado and Washington are testing out right now. Another category explores two extremes: maintaining prohibition and increasing penalties, and repealing prohibition without passing any kind of regulation of the marijuana industry. A third category explores eight options that fall somewhere in the middle.

Each of the 12 paths offers different benefits and risks to public health, government control of the industry, the ability to generate revenue and the level of conflict with federal law. What follows is a look at the pros and cons of each approach.

Vermont To Hold Hearing On Marijuana Legalization

VERMONT:  A public hearing is planned this week on the possible legalization of marijuana in Vermont.

The Wednesday hearing will be held statewide via Vermont Interactive Television.

Earlier this year the Legislature ordered the administration to study marijuana legalization. A report is due in January.

The state contracted with the RAND Corporation to examine issues that include production, distribution, and possession of marijuana.

Vermont House OKs Legal Marijuana Study

VERMONT:  The Vermont House on Thursday passed a measure calling for a study of marijuana legalization, while a Senate committee struggled to find a standard to determine when a driver is impaired by drugs.

If the Senate and Gov. Peter Shumlin agree, the legalization study would be focused mainly on the fiscal impact of regulating and taxing marijuana. Shumlin has said he would consider that idea in a future legislative session but wants to see first how legalization works out for the two states that have done so by referendum, Colorado and Washington.

The House gave the measure final passage on a voice vote with no debate. Most of the debate came Wednesday, when it was up for preliminary approval.

VT Speaker Ends Discussion On Legalizing Marijuana

VERMONT:  House Speaker Shap Smith on Friday spiked a proposal to study potential tax revenue the state could earn by legalizing marijuana.

The amendment would have asked the Joint Fiscal Office to study the revenue impact of legalizing marijuana, using Colorado’s pot tax as a guide. The Ways and Means Committee endorsed the amendment.

Smith, D-Morrisville, said Friday the amendment had nothing to do with the miscellaneous tax bill to which Rep. Kristina Michelsen, D-Hardwick, wanted to attach it. Smith also said he wanted to be consistent because he had just ruled another amendment non-germane.