Pubdate: Thu, 24 Jan 2008
Source: Burlington Free Press (VT)
Copyright: 2008 Burlington Free Press
Author: John Briggs, Free Press Staff Writer
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)
Bookmark: (Cannabis)


The Burlington City Council narrowly defeated a  watered-down ballot 
question on decriminalization of  marijuana that would have asked the 
governor and  Legislature "to explore an alternative to the criminal 
system for dealing with small quantities of marijuana."

The measure, sponsored by Ed Adrian, D-Ward 1, and Tim  Ashe, P-Ward 
3, failed 7-6 in a vote late Tuesday  night.

Those supporting the resolution were: Adrian; Ashe;  Clarence Davis, 
P-Ward 3; Russ Ellis, D-Ward 4; Joan  Shannon, D-Ward 5; and Andy 
Montroll, D-Ward 6.

Opposed were: Sharon Bushor, I-Ward 1; Jane Knodell,  P-Ward 2; Kurt 
Wright, R-Ward 4; Bill Keogh, D-Ward 5;  Barbara Perry, I-Ward 6; and 
Paul Decelles and Craig  Gutchell, Ward 7 Republicans.

Cheryl McDonough, P-Ward 2, was absent.

The resolution originally called for the mayor and City  Council to 
explore decriminalization locally, as well  as asking state 
government to take a look at the issue.

The local portion reappeared Tuesday as a separate  resolution, but 
not as a ballot item. It passed 11-2,  with Bushor and Decelles 
voting against it.

In its modified version, the local marijuana resolution  gives the 
council's Public Safety Committee the  assignment to "explore 
creating another option of  handling small quantities of marijuana." 
The phrase "within the city of Burlington" was pulled from 
the  resolution during council debate.

Adrian, the committee chairman, said the committee will  listen to 
"perspectives from all sides" of the  marijuana debate. He added: "I 
was disappointed that it  wasn't put on the ballot so the people 
could weigh in  on this, but that's the way the democratic process  works."

In other business, the council unanimously voted to put  a bond 
authorization for Burlington Electric Department  on the March 4 
ballot. BED is asking for authority to  issue bonds of $39.6 million 
for capital improvements.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom