State Headliners: Pot commission weighs zero tolerance for stoned drivers, worries about black market and ‘juuling’

By Guy Page

The Governor’s Advisory Commission on Marijuana may recommend zero legal tolerance for smoking marijuana and driving due to the lack of a reliable roadside impairment test. It fears the black market will continue even if regulated cultivation and sale are legalized. And it recognizes legalization could impact the growing practice among teens of “juuling” nicotine and marijuana.

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Juuling is inhaling nicotine or marijuana through a device that looks like a thumb drive. It’s easy for kids to to sneak into school and hide anywhere.

These three concerns and five others were highlighted in a July 1 status report. The Legislature is expected to consider regulated cultivation and sale of marijuana in the 2019 session. A lengthy excerpt from the status report by co-chairs Tom Little and Jake Perkinson is printed below, with minor edits for brevity:

“The Commission is now in the process of developing recommendations [by December 15, 2018] for a viable, safe and efficient regulated cannabis market that does not increase burdens on the State and ameliorates potential harm to the public.

And while no final recommendations have been crafted at this time, the Commission believes it is useful to note some of the subject matter areas:

  • Challenges associated with the federal prohibition and classification as a Schedule 1 drug of cannabis, including access to banking, insurance and other regulated business services.
  • Youth issues including education, prevention and addressing the increasing incidences and popularity of “juuling” and vaping among school aged children. Juuling is inhaling nicotine or marijuana through a device that looks like a thumb drive.
  • Health issues such as novel delivery formulations and the combination of cannabis with nicotine and/or other substances.
  • Issues about regulating the size or form of cannabis businesses and how the State will engage with any cannabis industry created by statute.
  • Local control and costs, particularly with regard to zoning, permitting, prohibition and public safety.
  • Highway safety issues including the possibility of adopting a zero tolerance policy in the face of challenges to available roadside testing methods.
  • Effectively eliminating the black market in an environment of varying state laws that will continue to lure elicit trade in cannabis by providing opportunities to profit from illegal sales and practices and recognition of the serious environmental hazards that can be expected to be created by illegal and unregulated cannabis cultivation; and
  • The need to develop a comprehensive assessment of the true costs to Vermont and its citizens that will attend the creation of a taxed and regulated cannabis market, including the increased need for education, youth prevention strategies and programs, public safety resources on the state and local level, and the costs of creating the systems necessary to regulate and enforce any new regulatory scheme.

Once these costs are identified, any taxation plan must be balanced against the reality that taxation of a legalized product must not be so onerous as to drive consumers to illicit markets and that resources to prosecute actors operating outside prescribed laws are available and applied.”

Statehouse Headliners is intended primarily to educate, not advocate. It is e-mailed to an ever-growing list of interested Vermonters, public officials and media. Guy Page is affiliated with the Vermont Energy Partnership; the Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare; and Physicians, Families and Friends for a Better Vermont.

Images courtesy of Michael Bielawski/TNR and U.S. National Guard
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5 thoughts on “State Headliners: Pot commission weighs zero tolerance for stoned drivers, worries about black market and ‘juuling’

  1. So there is another segment of society other than Vermont that is very heavy in MJ consumption and we’re following their prosperity plan down the drain. We’ve gone from an insane idea of jail time for a joint to setting up drug cartels under the guise of “co-operatives” in Vermont. Why are we avoiding any sane middle ground.

    Well that would be for the lobbyists to answer, in both cases they had the ear of our officials and our officials being deaf to the citizens and unable to think independently go along with the next big thing. So that is why it’s the Hot topic in Montpelier. Meanwhile have they noticed the serious drug problems in Vermont, heads turn to avoid seeing the massive white elephant in our state.

    Legal or not, smoking pot messes with the genetic code of male sperm. It messes with the breast milk of breast feeding parents. It stays in the body for some time, it’s powerful enough to deal with cancer and chronic pain.

    Of course MJ is a party favorite and I’m under no illusion that many can use responsibly and have a fun time. Like our other segments of society some are experiencing the very ill effects of it’s misuse and misunderstood consequences. And our Vermont DCF, with a cross sectional profile might find we’ve lead many in our society down the wrong path.

    Drugs are not the great hope for Vermont, they are a suckers bet. Bernie used to talk about how it took advantage of the poor and misinformed, my how he’s changed his tune with the money rolling in. Add in our socialist bent where it takes away hope, doesn’t guide people to better themselves, because as Bernie so “eloquently” states it’s Bezo’s fault, it’s the fault of the rich, which takes away ALL HOPE for people. Taking away people’s hope is one of the more cruel things in life.

    Add drugs, take away hope and make Vermont impossibly expensive and we have the mess and chaos we’re fostering. DCF is growing because we are sending people down the wrong path and promoting the wrong answers.

  2. Just one more thing that will run our people and our state into the ground. This should have been kept in the shadows. Legalizing was all about generating revenue at the expense of our health, productivity and self sufficiency. In the grand progressive scheme…no surprise. I can’t believe the things our legislators chase after.

  3. I honestly don’t give a rat’s #&!% what ‘the state’ comes up with for regulations anymore. Should any ‘impaired’ driver (drunk/stoned) kill a family member of mine, they’d be best served by moving out of the country. No more ‘Maria Carlsons’.

  4. That’s great, the legalize marijuana then realize there is no way to test for it when an impaired driver is pulled over. Anyone look into vehicle accidents and deaths in the states that already passed it?

    • Yes, I think you will find Colorado has experienced a 40% increase in vehicle accidents related to marijuana.

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