Bob Orleck: Gov. Scott’s approval of marijuana is ‘incomprehensible’

By Bob Orleck

Gov. Scott has signed H.511, making Vermont the first state by legislative process to legalize pot for recreational use. On July 1, it will be permissible to possess 1 ounce of pot and store an unlimited quantity harvested from two mature plants.

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Marijuana legalization is causing concerns across the U.S., especially due to increased incidents of driving while stoned.

If the governor’s oft expressed requirement that children must be protected in situations from pot exposure by adults is sincere, why didn’t he insist on their protection in homes where exposure will likely occur? He boasts of requiring provisions making it criminal for “using marijuana in a motor vehicle with a child present” and for “using and growing marijuana at facilities servicing children,” but did not in the homes where marijuana is grown, used and stored in unlimited, uncontrolled amounts.

The governor’s personal belief “that what adults do behind closed doors and on private property is their choice, so long as it does not negatively impact the health and safety of others, especially children” is full of empty words. Children have little or no control over their home environment and what they are exposed to.

Harvested quantities vary due to plant size, growing conditions and skill of the grower. One plant can produce 5 pounds of pot. State Rep. Cynthia Browning offered an amendment to limit the allowed accumulation to 2 pounds, but that was defeated in a House vote. What should have been a child health-and-safety red light for the governor was ignored.

Even 2 pounds of pot produces up to 1000 joints, but under H.511, no such quantity limit exists. With pot stockpiles in homes, Vermont will soon, as Colorado does now, experience home invasions, diversion and sale, as well as access for children. A play day at a friend’s house can be a real health-and-safety threat for that visiting child.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, is commonly put in edibles such as soda pop, brownies, lollipops and even gummie bears. Such products are a lure to children. THC in pot in the 1960s to 1990s was 1-3 percent, but now is 15-18 percent and even higher in concentrates that can have 100 percent THC content. High potency THC causes psychosis, suicides, murders and other violent acts, as well as impaired driving.

Former Gov. Jim Douglas said no good reason exists for legalization. Gov. Scott had a reason. He promised someone he would support it. Why, when H.511 is a child endangerment bill? By supporting it, he ignored the urging of seven Vermont medical organizations, law enforcement, educators, the Vermont Department of Health, and the head of the state police, who said more people will die if this becomes law and he even ignored the teachings of his Marijuana Commission. Legalization by H.511 reduces a youth’s perception of harm and provides no actual protections to them.

How a governor of Vermont, having been fully informed, whose sworn duty it is to protect the citizens, could flout federal law that makes possession illegal, and put citizens and their children at risk to be injured and die as a result, is incomprehensible.

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

Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Chmee2 and Wikimedia Commons/Cannabis Training University
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8 thoughts on “Bob Orleck: Gov. Scott’s approval of marijuana is ‘incomprehensible’

  1. 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, INSTEAD HE SIGNED IT.

    This bill will NOT create a better Vermont society
    This bill will increase mental illness.
    This bill will cause more deaths on highways.
    This bill will increase child second-hand exposure to opiates
    This bill will require increases in state spending to deal with adverse consequences
    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 sad 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 would have been a hero of many people, if he had vetoed 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.

  2. “How a governor of Vermont, having been fully informed, whose sworn duty it is to protect the citizens, could flout federal law that makes possession illegal, and put citizens and their children at risk to be injured and die as a result, is incomprehensible.”

    Before he entered the <elected office of Vermont assistant attorney general, Mr. Orleck was employed as a pharmacist dispensing controlled substances deemed to be tooo dangerous for unsupervised use by the unwashed masses. Arguably, the large part of them are, given the lengthy lists of adverse reactions listed for them in the package inserts that so many don’t / won’t read. He would no doubt be reluctant to discourage their dispensation due to the profit motive–the money. The fact that an agricultural product can be grown by individuals must really rub him the wrong way.

    The issue would seem to be one of personal responsibility vs. government control. Obviously, most children do not learn personal responsibility without adult influence — the parent(s), one might hope. Providing that adult influence is a responsibility too often shirked and sloughed it off into the control-greedy hands of the government saviours upon whom they have come to rely for so much else.

    Control is the issue here. Cannabis control is just more evidence of the reluctance of government to relinquish control seized under false pretense.

    • Correcting the record, Asst Attorney General is an appointed position, chosen from a list of job applicants. It is baffling how the years of legal experience required for the job might have been obtained while pushing pills.

    • I’m quite happy we have people who are pharmacists dispensing doctor-prescribed medicines. They require prescriptions because they are deemed to be dangerous if used inappropriately; ergo a responsible doctor is in the loop.

      The charge, that a person making a living as a pharmacist is (automatically) defined as greedy, exceeds the allowances we should make for the geriatric mind. (I have one too and can appreciate the problems.)

  3. What amount of plant matter does a child have to ingest to overdose? I imagine that a child could Overdose on aloe or Oleander easier than cannabis.

  4. You speak of medical and law enforcement agencies speaking out against legalization of a plant that they are profiting off of.

    • “You speak of medical and law enforcement agencies speaking out against legalization of a plant that they are profiting off of.”

      …therein lies the rub… It’s the regulation in which they’re interested. The control of our lives, the very motive behind the anti-cannabis agenda instituted at the insistence of W. Randolph Hearst whose own selfish motive was removing a source of the fiber useful in manufacture of paper — newsprint . He, of course, had tied up a large investment in a source of cheap pulpwood in Central America that would have been obviated by hemp grown in the US.

      Control of pulpwood for Hearst, control of the people for the government. Control has ever been the keyword. The welfare of the people, secondary at best. Money hath such a loud and influential voice.

  5. Bob Orleck, how can interfering in others private property be moral? What plants a person grows in private is of no concern of yours and if children are present in the growth of a seed to a full grown plant with budding flowers would they not have a better understanding and more of a respect for the said plant?
    First off what is considered child abuse? Sure handing your 10 year old a pipe or bong could very well be child abuse (so smoking in front of your children is causing harm, making a victim)… is it the same for 16 year olds? At that age you can leave home and be on your own. If there’s no smoke in front of a minor than I don’t see a victim. Bob Orleck, can you counter?

    I mean really, you sound like you are for the fining, detainment and some other form punishment for someone who owns and/or uses a plant. How is that just or moral?

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