Vermont Governor Wants Marijuana Legalized
Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin was "still struggling" with the idea of legalizing cannabis just a few days ago. Now, he is requesting that lawmakers attempt to remove prohibition in the state.
Why the change of heart? In his annual State of the State address, he noted that 80,000 Vermont residents used marijuana in 2015 which contributes to the sustainability of the black market. He now believes in cannabis, saying, “I believe we have the capacity to take this next step and get marijuana legalization done right the Vermont way.” He is willing to help lawmakers construct the bill in a way that will keep cannabis out of the hands of minors, keep taxes low enough to get rid of the black market, devise stronger laws against driving under the influence, and prohibit the sale of marijuana edibles until the state has done more research attach the appropriate regulations to these types of products.
Shumlin's motives are similar to those of Senator Jeanette White, who issued Senate Bill 241 earlier this week. The bill will legalize the cultivation, possession, and sale of marijuana for adults 21 or older as well as establish several cannabis lounges throughout the state. Tom Angell, with the Marijuana Majority, stated, "It's looking more and more likely that Vermont will be the first state to legalize marijuana through the legislature instead of by a citizen ballot initiative."
While Shumlin's support for marijuana is a major step towards legalizing cannabis however, there are still opposers out there. Senate President Pro Tempore John Campbell still does not support cannabis, and he recently told Seven Days, “The last thing I think the Senate needs is for marijuana legalization to be what controls the session.”