Lawmakers, advocates press to legalize sale of cannabis in Vermont

This article by Luke Nathan originally appeared Jan. 9 in the Bennington Banner.

MONTPELIER — Vermont Attorney General T. J. Donovan, legislative leaders and advocates gathered Thursday at the Statehouse to press for the adoption this year of a bill that would establish a tax-and-regulate system for commercial cannabis.

“After four years of further study and deliberation … it seems clear to me that, in the year 2020, there is no state in the U.S. that is more ready to regulate cannabis sales than Vermont,” said Matt Simon, political director for the Marijuana Policy Project, a national nonprofit.

state of Vermont

Sen. Dick Sears, D-Bennington, a sponsor of S.54, is a proponent of a tax-and-regulate system for commercial cannabis.

Donovan echoed the sentiment, contending it is “way past time” to create a legal marketplace for the drug. “It’s good for consumer protection, it’s good for public health, it’s good for public safety and it’s good for the state of Vermont,” he said.

The Vermont Senate last year passed a legalization bill, S.54, by a vote of 23 to 5. The bill is now being considered by committees in the House.

Donovan lamented that, although Vermont law allows adults to possess small amounts of cannabis legally, it is “absolutely silent on how they obtain it.”

Sen. Dick Sears, D-Bennington, a sponsor of S.54, said that by failing to establish a legal marketplace, Vermont is effectively “shipping tax dollars out of state.”

In Williamstown, Massachusetts, just over the Vermont border, Sears said, there are now two retail cannabis shops. “I would guarantee that many of their customers are from Vermont and New York,” he said.

Sarah Copeland-Hanzas, D-Bradford, who chairs the House Committee on Government Operations said she is “captaining” the cannabis bill’s passage in the lower chamber.

Read full article at the Bennington Banner.

(Fair use with written permission from the New England Newspapers Inc.)

Images courtesy of U.S. National Guard and state of Vermont

4 thoughts on “Lawmakers, advocates press to legalize sale of cannabis in Vermont

  1. A help for struggling rural communities? Pueblo CO went from one of the most desirable places to live to one of the least after they accepted commercial pot in their town. Health care became so stressed that a 100 y o hospital went bankrupt. Chronic school absentee rate sunk to 38%. Helpful really?

  2. Here’s a prime example of the legislators wasting precious time on irrelevant issues when the real needs languish in the “no action” file.

  3. “would establish a tax-and-regulate system”

    That’s got to be like Christmas X10 holiday to the leftist fascist….
    TAX and REGULATE meeting….it’s almost like being in heaven..

    and Correct Wendy, it’s all become a cash cow for political hacks…Plant your own and hopefully it spreads over the whole state growing like the “Weed” it
    is….free for the picking..

  4. You don’t need a marketplace if you can legally grow your own. This commercialization proposal is about selling out Vermont’s youth to Big Weed. Pro-pot groups, some funded by Soros, have been filling the political coffers of politicians like Sears and Zuckerman for years. Go to Sec of State records and look back on campaign finance reports from 2004 to now.

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