Statehouse Headliners: Marijuana bill would allow high-concentrate edibles, encourage ‘illicit’ growers to seek licenses

By Guy Page

On Tuesday House Government Operations Chair Sarah Copeland Hanzas gave the House Democratic caucus details of her committee’s planned “roll-out” of S.54, the tax and regulate marijuana legalization bill. Renamed the Cannabis Consumer Protection Bill, S.54 as currently conceived by Gov Ops would:

  • Favor small, “Vermont scale” marijuana cultivators, “at least in the first round.” Micro-retailers also will be encouraged. Current medical marijuana dispensaries could sell retail marijuana until new dispensaries become open for business.
  •  Require municipalities to permit marijuana cultivation, production and sales operations unless a majority of voters choose to “opt-out.” This is contrary to the wishes of marijuana legalization opponents and advocates of municipal decision-making who prefer the bill to make marijuana operations locally impermissible unless a majority of town voters choose to “opt-in.”

Chair Copeland-Hanzas explained the committee believes “opt-out” status would encourage “illicit” marijuana growers now operating in the community to eventually come forward and apply for licenses. She told the members that there are now illicit grows “in every one of your districts, and mine.” Opt-out status will encourage them to come forward and apply for licenses, she said.

“I’m very concerned about the opt-out structure,” Rep. Cynthia Browning (Arlington) said. “You are putting people breaking the law, breaking zoning laws, above the interests of law-abiding citizens.”

“It’ a chicken and the egg situation,” Chair Copeland-Hanzas responded.

  • Permit sale of edibles, including gummies, in 10 mg servings. The marijuana consumer market wants edibles and Vermont dispensaries need to meet that demand, she said.
  •  Fund state programs aimed at youth substance abuse prevention with marijuana revenue. Rep. Skip Troiano (Stannard), a longtime supporter of medical marijuana operations, asked how legal marijuana operations would be taxed. Chair Copeland-Hanzas answered, “I’m advising we don’t do a lot” of specifics on taxation, “knowing that the experts will take over” – meaning the House Ways & Means (taxation) Committee.
  •  Address impaired driver concerns with sufficient Drug Recognition Experts (DREs) and – possibly – roadside blood draws. Gov. Phil Scott has said he wants a saliva test to be included in the bill. Chair Copeland-Hanzas did not mention that option.
  • Allow marijuana retail sales to begin Sept. 1, 2021.

Government Operations is scheduled to review and vote on S54 Thursday and Friday.

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.

Image courtesy of Michael Bielawski/TNR

4 thoughts on “Statehouse Headliners: Marijuana bill would allow high-concentrate edibles, encourage ‘illicit’ growers to seek licenses

  1. “Encourage” illegal growers to obtain a licence? Let me see, it’s illegal and if caught, one could assume that there would be penalties involved, SOO this would require two lines. The first line will be where the illegal grower gets his “voluntary” license and the second line will be where the illegal grower pays a fine. Makes perfect sense to me.

  2. So now we possible have:
    “possibly – roadside blood draws. Gov. Phil Scott has said he wants a saliva test to be included in the bill. Chair Copeland-Hanzas did not mention that option”

    1) What qualifies a cop to draw blood? How versed are they, education?
    2) How sterilized will be the instruments?
    3) Doesn’t this violate “search and seizure” laws?
    4) If stopped on a busy highway, that endangers the motorist
    5) If stopped, does this open vehicle searches? SCOTUS just ruled against such procedures and
    confiscation of vehicles and anything therein.
    6) What safe guards will their be to assure against contamination.
    7) How accurate are the instruments?
    8) What was the calibration devices used and how recent for accurate readings?
    9) Is a lawyer allowed to be present prior to testing, assuring no rights violations.
    10) Have dash cameras available for recording for possible Court proceedings.
    11) Seems a person has to travel with more than yourself for witnesses.
    12) Just answer yes or no to questions and “obey”.
    13) Cops cannot enter your vehicle without permission. But that may lead to problems.
    14) How trustworthy are the cops as not to “plant a known bad sample” for yours. It’s happened.

    The highways aren’t safe for the motorist, in either of two cases, (cops and drugs). Make sure all your lights work, a huge reason for getting stopped. This happened in this article following.

    Ref TNR Article:
    Vermont man takes on local police over state’s extreme risk protection order law

    I question authority, especially observing as to what going on.

    • I fully agree about not trusting the gooberment that has no idea about
      anything related to Testing for “Impairment” by pot. They have no test that show’s
      level of and have no idea what level for impairment. The proposed saliva test is sure to be
      another boon for the court system (along with dui) and making criminals out of law abiding citizens.

      Just another day in Loonie Vert Mount…life under the leftist thumb. Also good advice on checking your lights, Registration, Inspection stickers, and don’t drive over 9mph above
      the speed limit. The cops look for excuse’s to stop you then add on to that ticket.

  3. I don’t use any type of drug, and I WILL NOT SUBMIT to a ‘roadside blood draw’. What the hell is wrong with these people?

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