Editor’s note: The following is an open letter to Governor Phil Scott from Physicians, Families and Friends for a Better Vermont, including Vermont physicians Dr. David Rettew, Dr. John Hughes, and Dr. David Charnock, all members of the PFFBVT Advisory Board.
Dear Governor Scott:
In the first week of 2018, the Vermont Legislature approved H.511, a bill you did not seek. Faced with the choice to sign or veto, you said you would sign based on your libertarian bent for personal freedom as long as another is not harmed. At the same time you expressed concern that society must take steps to protect the impact of legalization on mental health, children, and highway safety.
Since then, however, important new information has been presented to you. The January 16 report by your Marijuana Advisory Commission concedes that although consumption is widespread under the current decriminalized system, “common sense and logic dictate there will be an increase in availability and consequently an increase in use” if two plants are legal in every home, along with unlimited storage of marijuana and no interdiction prohibiting home-created concentrates as high as 100% THC. And your Commission clearly states that increased consumption will lead to more mental illness, more death on our highways, more child exposure and more state spending to address these and other problems.
Governor Scott, your Commission wisely sets a standard for legalization: “even accepting as a given existing, illegal recreational use of cannabis as an individual choice, legalizing this choice — and placing the state’s approval on it — cannot be permitted to adversely impact public health or safety, especially roadway safety and children’s health.”
The Commission report, prepared by experts in law enforcement, medical and social services, says there will indeed be adverse impacts: “local and state police, schools and social services can all expect increased burdens directly related to any increase of use flowing from the increased availability of cannabis.” The state’s picked experts have described how Vermonters under legalization even of two plants will suffer and our already burdened taxpayers will be required to pay for more drug treatment, more mental health treatment, more child social services and more highway safety – at a level that would be unnecessary if legalization had not led to increased consumption.
Governor Scott, you did not ask for this bill — but you can veto it and set a path for a safer Vermont in the event of further decriminalization during a future biennium. In your written veto explanation to the Legislature, please ask our lawmakers to take the steps deemed necessary by the Commission to reduce the human suffering and impacts of further decriminalization, should it occur. The Commission states:
EDUCATION AND PREVENTION — Current programs do not target cannabis specifically and the Vermont Department of Health estimates it would take the VT Dept. of Health 12-18 months to develop the necessary programs and materials to implement an effective education and prevention program.
Governor Scott, based on this expert advice published on January 16, please veto H.511, ask the Legislature to fully fund and implement the 12-18 month education and prevention program, prior to delivering any new further decriminalization of home grown plants bill for your signature.
The Commission advises funding sources such as federal highway safety grants, and taxes, fees and other financial support possibly from a system of state sold decriminalized cannabis licenses and/or permits or from a further decriminalized system. In your veto statement, require the cannabis decriminalized system to invest up front in paying for the cost of educating our young and treating the victims of mental illness, addiction, and highway accidents and deaths. If this system places profits over the lives and wellbeing of Vermonters, then no Vermont Legislature sworn to uphold Article 7 of the Vermont Constitution — “government …..for the common benefit, protection, and security of the people” — should want them here, anyway. These financial investments must not be token offerings. They must pay, as much as money can pay, the full burden of prevention and treatment of any increased human suffering resulting, as determined on an actuarial basis.
Governor Scott, please trust what your inner voice tells you is best for Vermont. Your fellow Vermonters know you as a person of common sense who can be trusted to do what is right for them and for their children. As measured in lives saved or lost, this may be the most important decision of your career — indeed, of your entire life. May wisdom guide you.
14 thoughts on “Open letter to Gov. Phil Scott: Based on new Commission information, please veto H.511”
Veto it. Tell the legislators don’t try it again while you are governor. Then send them back and tell them it’s time to start teaching young Vermonters to abstane from messing with this stuff.
Assuming that the Governor signs this bill into law, BEWARE!
The first life-taking or permanently disabling accident which is determined to have been caused by someone who was under the influence of marijuana will set off a series of lawsuits, not just limited to the particular perpetrator(s), but also to be focused on any number of legislators and proponents for the legalization of the drug.
Many attorneys will benefit and many governmental supporters of this new-born law will pay a steep price for their irresponsible legislative and administrative actions. It’s about time that politics be put aside and that the reality of possible human damage and suffering be considered as being far more important.
perfect there are pros and cons to every bill and we are not covering the cons with taxes and leaving taxpayers to pay the bill. totally wrong. If some can smoke it why cant I sell it freedom of choice? You smoke cigs you pay a insane tax, you drink sugar you pay a tax you own property yu pay a tax, you smoke and grow pot you need to pay a tax.
I agree and as a Law Enforcement officer I will give anyone injured by someone impaired by Marijuana a list of all legislators that voted for the bill. Let the legislator explain..
Unfortunately, an argument based on morality holds no place in VT. But I’ll make it anyway.
Freedom is the wherewithal to perform the moral good according to God’s natural law. An exercise of the will to perform evil (such as harming yourself or others) is not freedom; it is license – as in licentiousness.
No amount of education, prevention, testing standards, etc. will negate the evil inherent in ‘recreational’ drug use. A government that abets such activity represents an utterly depraved culture….And that’s what we’ve got.
Hey, look at the bright side, all of those stoners will be too paranoid to go to the poles to vote for their favorite liberal.
You had us pay for the study
The study was completed
The study shows that passage of this bill will certainly harm Vermonters and Vermont as a whole
Please let us know you weren’t just wasting our money by ignoring the very study you called for
Please stand up and veto this bill, that our legislators don’t even have the courage to vote in a roll call None of them want to be held accountable, so they went for cowardly voice vote
However, you don’t get that privilege
Please veto the bill.
YET ANOTHER REASON TO BE ASHAMED OF THE ONCE PROUD STATE OF VERMONT!
Electing and re-electing Bernie the communist for the past 35 years is something to be very ashamed of….but most Vermonters arent smart enough to figure that out.
I hope the Governor comes to his senses and Veto’s this Half baked bill !!
As he must understand the ramifications that will come with the passing of
this BS bill.
This bill being passed by a Voice vote, it just goes to show what and who we
have running around in Montpelier ( Idiots ) .This bill was passed by the pressure
from the Liberals and there delusions of grandeur !!
So if this bill was so ” Great ” then Stand up and be counted , as we want to
see how it was passed !!
They should just put it to a public vote and it would pass easily. Then we wouldnt have to listen to you blow hards whine about it
It is completely outrageous for legislators passing such a controversial bill on a voice vote.
If I were Scott, I would veto it just for that cowardly cop out.
In any case, Scott should veto it on the lack of merits.
This bill will NOT create a better Vermont society
This bill is NOTHING to be proud of.
This bill will INCREASE healthcare costs
This bill will INCREASE policing enforcement costs
This bill will INCREASE endangering Vermont’s police forces
This bill will INCREASE erratic driving, and accidents, endangering the lives of innocent drivers who are being sacrificed by legislators.
How can these people sleep at night. Their cowardly crassness is worse than Trump’s.
Those who use marijuana “recreationally” function with addled brains.
They make poor decisions.
Their “spaced-out” state adversely affects their own wellbeing and that of their families and communities.
The act and react slowly.
They endanger themselves and others on and of the job and driving.
Their “recreational” use will lead to other opiates to alleviate the realities of their lives.
Repeated exposure to foreign substances leads to alterations of healthy functioning.
Repeated exposure to foreign substances, especially in the womb, adversely affect neural and brain development, for life.
I am over 80 years old.
Smoked pot and other junk when I was much younger.
Many a time, after a party, I stayed with a friend, instead of being stupid and driving home.
Many a time, a SOBER friend drove me home.
Many a time, a stoned friend drove someone else home; sometimes that worked out OK, sometimes not.
Just sharing my experiences of at least 5 decades ago.
Scott will be the hero of many people, if he vetoes that infamous bill.
Scott will have no trouble getting re-elected as many times as he wants.
Last time, he won by a landslide in a Democrat-dominated state.
No other Democrat could beat him.
You’re delusional. All the people who want to smoke already do and you dont notice them on the roads. Most of the things you said will increase will actually decrease because we will no longer be wasting taxpayer money chasing a plant. The state will make a small fortune in revenue from sales. All money that is now handled through the very robust black market
Nothing delusional there Willem.
In my lifetime, I bet I’ve had 5 to ten people say in front of me, “I’ve been smoking pot for XX years and it hasn’t hurt me a bit.” That’s when everybody else in the room looks around at each other and silently says, “seriously dude…did you just say that….have ya looked in the mirror lately?” Everybody else can see it but the guy who said it.
This thing needs to stop and we need to turn the heat up on prevention. For now the only message being sent to our kids is a great big pot smoking GREEN LIGHT.
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