The wait for Vermont to make a decision on whether or not to legalize marijuana for adult use is definitely taking the internet by storm – and why not? – considering they will be the first to do so through the legislative process rather than through voter initiative. The bill has already been passed through the Senate and it is being reviewed in the House beginning just recently.
This past week, the House Judiciary Committee took the time to listen to 58 different individuals who wanted to speak out about their opinion on the state moving forward with marijuana legalization. Of them, there were 34 who favored legalization, 19 who were opposed to it and 5 who had not yet decided where they stand on the issue.
“I’m a normal, nonpsychotic guy,” said Bruce Kimball of Essex. “I consider myself a law-abiding citizen, but my use of pot over the years has made me an outlaw. Do I like that? No. … What I would like is the option to purchase pot from a safe, regulated, well-maintained dispensary.”
Some who were against the idea of legalization or opposed to it were merely uncertain about how this would impact their communities. There were also medical professionals there to warn about the uncertainty of how marijuana use at a young age can impact development of the brain. Another concern addressed was not allowing small-cultivators to use marijuana as a cash crop.
Government doesn’t want you doing any of those things in excess but to continue to pretend that by outlawing marijuana, you’re keeping it out of the hands of kids and adults is a level of denial that as governor—I can’t live in La La Land … – Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, interview with Time
Along with the Vermont House hearing out many citizens on reasons to choose to legalize or reasons to choose not to, the state’s Governor was also interviewed by Time about his stance on the subject. He explained very clearly that he simply cannot pretend that marijuana is not already readily available to kids and anyone else who wants it – after all, drug dealers don’t ask for I.D., remember?
His stance is extremely logical – starting out with a program that allows purchases up to an ounce and leaves the more controversial subjects like edibles and certain extracts off the table – at least to start with. Though this may be somewhat disappointing to those looking forward to the bill passing, the Governor has made it clear that the intention is not to put a permanent ban on such items, but rather give them a chance find the safest way to implement such a thing.
Assuming the House is as supportive of the bill as the Senate was, it will be working its way through soon – and with only a little time left to his term, Governor Peter Shumlin still hopes he will get to sign the bill into law before leaving office.