Bob Orleck: On Gov. Douglas’s opposition to marijuana legalization

By Bob Orleck

On Wednesday evening, Nov. 1, former Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas (2003-11), was the keynote speaker at the annual Orange County GOP spaghetti dinner held in Randolph. During the Q/A session, I asked him about his position on the legalization of marijuana for recreational use in Vermont.

Speaking without hesitation to his audience, Gov. Douglas said he opposes such legalization and sees no reason for it. He noted that there have been increased highway deaths in Colorado and Washington since legalization began there. He also said for some people marijuana is a gateway drug.

Gov. Douglas voiced an understanding about the desire by some for tax revenue, but rejected it, saying that “the desire for this revenue should not replace our values and what is the right thing to do and this is not the right thing to do for Vermont.” He cited the example of Gov. Dean rejecting a casino in southern Vermont because it was “not consistent with Vermont values.” The governor also questioned if revenue would meet expectations, but even if it did, “it would not be the right thing to do.”

I agree. So do many Vermonters for many reasons, the number of which only seems to grow as we learn more about the law enforcement, addiction and homelessness problems in legal jurisdictions. I hope Gov. Douglas’s position will help others realize that legalization for recreational use is not inevitable and there are leaders out there who are not afraid to take a principled position against this dangerous and addicting drug.

The marijuana that is being marketed elsewhere, and will be here if the pro-pot industry gets its way, is not the 1% to 3% marijuana of the 1970s. Today’s marijuana is now up to 15% and concentrates make it available up to 90%. It is being marketed in the form of soda pop, brownies, gummy bears and lollipops. Just imagine when a young child sees this “yummy” brownie laying around.

Bob Orleck is a retired pharmacist and former Vermont assistant attorney general. He lives in Randolph.

Image courtesy of Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

11 thoughts on “Bob Orleck: On Gov. Douglas’s opposition to marijuana legalization

  1. I hate how both sides can’t be honest about the budget situations and vices like Marijuana.The pensions and health insurance premiums for state and local government workers will goggle up every nickel.They will leave nothing for infrastructure or everyday running of government affairs.They can’t tax enough through property,income,or sales taxes.They will have to allow gambling and marijuana to try to attempt to keep the Titanic afloat.The math still doesn’t work,even with taxed vices.

    The pension war is coming to all 4 corners of America.These people will claim these are contracts already worked for.It will pit brother against brother.The math doesn’t lie though.These government workers will be lucky to get 50% of what they were promised.

    • And then imagine adding another “vice” that has been shown to cause numerous medical problems (pulmonary, psychosis, trauma, etc). Medical costs will increase yet again – but unfortunately, along with lack of pensions, higher medical costs, we are losing many individuals from the work force because they can’t pass a drug test. There are so many jobs that are “dangerous” or “skilled” that need indivuals to test clean. Health care, pilots, skilled laborers who operate heavy machinery, drivers, etc all require that the employee be able to pass a urine drug test. Here in Colorado, many companies have to recruit from out of state to find employees. Imagine the number of people who will be excluded from a large chunk of jobs (after all, you wouldn’t want you children’s bus driver to be using marijuana). What happens to these people? And now, in additon to shrinking pensions, there is a shrinking pool of workers contributing. So, the only way a vice can pay for our social ills, is to sell more and then you have this vicious circle.

  2. Proving yet again why he was – and still is – a great leader, former Gov. Douglas speaks the common-sense wisdom that seems so sorely lacking today under the golden dome. Of course “pot” is a gateway drug. Everybody knows that, whether they’ll admit it or not. Its “medicinal” use is already permitted, under appropriate supervision. Even so, far too many impaired users end up behind the wheel and cause harm to others. Why would we want to expand that problem? To legalize pot is to put a governmental stamp of approval on “getting high” as a way for its citizens to “deal with reality?” Its a bad idea. Thanks again to Gov. Douglas for speaking the truth.

    • I applaud Bob Orleck’s commentary and echo KC’s praise for Gov. Douglas’ stated position on this issue. It’s a shame that there aren’t more existing or former high-ranking state-government administrators or legislators who see clearly the dangers of legalizing the open growing and marketing of this increasingly more dangerous drug for recreational use.

      Those who advocate legalization, led by, among others, our current Lt. Governor, do so for
      purely self-serving, money-grubbing reasons and without any serious concerns about the
      risks and probable hazards that will likely be encountered by the open and largely uncontrolled distribution of a substance that can damage the health of uneducated or innocent users, especially minors and those who become dependent upon its habit-forming
      application other than that for medical purposes prescribed by health professionals.

      It’s well past the time that matters of this nature should be tolerated by Vermont residents.
      Those government officials who are proposing the largely unruly trafficking of this jeopardous substance should be voted out of or otherwise removed from holding public office.

  3. A “few plants” and legalized marijuana, in THC concentrations that have never been seen before, has led the youth of Colorado to have the highest addiction rate in the nation. Without doubt, THC affects the growing brain in a negative and permanent way. To make money, the marijuana companies need clients who return and purchase their products on a regular basis – their biggest users will be your kids.
    While the marijuana industry here in Colorado accuses people of being “big pharma” supporters, the industry here is not different. Just google marijuana and cures to see all the false claims that the industry has made. There are claims that it cures everything from cancer, Parkinson’s disease, PTSD and everything in between. Don’t be fooled, the marijuana industry does not have different goals than big pharma – they WANT you to buy their product. The biggest difference is that there is no oversite, no quality control and each time you purchase your “cure”, you are purchasing a potentially different substance. Additionally, the prescribers of the marijuana industry are the budtenders making recommendations for you. Which sounds safer: a physician with years of training or a budtender with a high school education?? A drug that has undergone rigorous studies and has FDA approval or pot.

  4. In Colorado the number of Cuban and Honduran illegal marijuana grows have continued to increase, despite legalization, especially grows sited in suburban homes hiding behind legal home grow laws. Colorado’s youth use rate is now the highest in the nation.
    Fatal car crashes with drivers testing positive for marijuana jumped 124%. THC use in pregnancy significantly increases the baby’s likelihood of becoming addicted to opiates and having a low birth weight and compromised IQ . At one hospital in a month, nearly half the babies tested had marijuana in their systems. Some Colorado physicians are telling their patients NOT to breast feed because marijuana use rate is so high and breast milk has markedly increased levels of poisonous THC.
    Finally Colorado toddler in home poisonings are 7 times greater than elsewhere in the US; poisoned children have suffered coma, myocarditis, even death.
    In what world do we pass a law and poison our toddlers..? I am thankful Governor Douglas has stood up for the weakest and most vulnerable among us and for what is right. The solution to Vermont’s drug problem isn’t more drugs.

  5. If you think the pharmaceutical industry is bad just wait until the Marijuana industry comes to your town. They make high potency products in deceptive forms to disguise use. They have bud tenders who act like pharmacists and doctors without the medical degree or accountability!! They call smoke medicine!! They don’t have to list the harms, risks, doses or frequency and deney that Marijuana.m can cause mental illness and lead to more drugs . These high potency crack weed they make have never been studied before. Oh and if your child falls prey to the deceptive, harmful, irresponsible industry and you speak up about it, no one cares because you child didn’t die from Heroin. The Marijuana industry manipulates to discriminate!!!! I live in Pubelo Colorado. Go to my You Tube Channel and you will see plenty of examples of what happens to your community. You can not separate the illegal market from the legal market, they are the same!!! The legal market just becomes a front ! We have cartels in our neighborhoods!!! Do not let tpersonal use, Home grows or commercialization of Marijuana im you community! Do not scrafice you Health and safety on the cannabis altar!!

  6. The irony is that Mr. Orleck made a living selling highly addictive legal pharmaceuticals….Now he wants to keep me from growing a few plants in my backyard for my own personal medicinal use. What a crock….

    The fact that TNP publishes this kind of propaganda (similar to that of communist regimes) while also espousing libertarian, free thinking and free-market ideals is the ultimate hypocrisy.

  7. Money , Money , Money ……. That’s all Montpelier sees !!

    They are being feed the BS that we as a state will fall into a windfall of money , what they are
    not telling you is all the ramifications that are do to follow .The Pro Pot Industry is only thinking
    of one thing ,Profits !!

    Vermont will have a bag Money , but the money will be paid out for all the issues that are bound
    to follow . They got a profit , we got the debt ………….. . buyer beware !!

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