Pubdate: Fri, 22 Jul 2011 Source: Brattleboro Reformer (VT) Copyright: 2011 Brattleboro Publishing Co. Contact: http://www.reformer.com/ Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/59 Author: T. Namaya VERMONT GOLD I had been traveling for some time, when I came back home and discovered that Vermont had finally repealed its archaic compliance with the U.S. marijuana prohibition. The millions of dollars wasted on Law Enforcement and the Judicial system in their efforts to comply with this outdated mandate was too much for pragmatic Vermont. It was an unexpectedly progressive and enlightened step forward when Governor Shumlin enacted the new "Vermont Gold" law. At the state liquor store there was a rack of 20 brands of Vermont's finest Marijuana and hashish. The attractive packages were certified, weighed, taxed, and branded with the Freedom and Unity labels. Each of the brands -- Vermont Gold, Maple Red, Cow-patty Natural, and so forth - -- was neatly displayed, along with the prices: $15 for a quarter-ounce of Gold, and $10 for the Maple Red. What the hippies had long fantasized about had finally materialized. Marginal agricultural land became verdant pastures, and new cottage industries started to boom. Even Grandma in Guilford was making the finest handcrafted bongs. She said, "Vermonters have been using this weed for generations, as a lineament, a salve, a cure for arthritic pains, and a neat way to treat whatever else ails you. What took 'em so long to make it legal?" Though laws were enacted similar to DWI regulations, as long as you smoked and didn't drive, everything was hunky-dory. And as long as you left your chainsaw in the shed with your other dangerous toys, there was no problem. Soon the weekend hotels and Green Weed Spas were booming. People came from near and far to enjoy the peaceful bliss of Vermont. It was marvelous to see the state booming from the legalized marijuana that helped fund the its health program. Of course, the Federal government came down hard and withheld all kinds of aid to police programs and such, but we were swimming in new-found tourist dollars and revenues from the sale of the finest legal pot in the country. I thought it was pretty classy when our governor invited President Obama to the Green Mountains. He said, "Come on up for a tofu barbeque, toke some weed, and let's work out our differences." The invitation is still pending, but, given the stress the O-man is under, a bit of weed and a weekend in the mountains could be the balm of Gilead to his weary soul. The people who smoked before the new laws were instigated continued to do so, and those who didn't still declined to smoke. Nursing homes baked trays of hash brownies, and they found the brownies were far more effective for all their patients' aches and pains than the pharmaceuticals. In turn, combined with the new euthanasia laws, the legalization of marijuana transformed Vermont into a haven and a sanctuary for compassionate end-of-life care. The old retired hippies came to Vermont and began to build co-housing communities, just like at Cobb Hill. It turns out, the old retired hippies, who had gone on to become bankers, doctors, lawyers, artists, and musicians, liked the relaxed legal climate and culture of Vermont. Even a few Republicans sneaked in and made their Jerry Garcia neckties into headbands. In a few short years, Vermont went from being a pariah, to being an enlightened and well-funded oasis. We had fully funded healthcare, tuition at public universities that was a fraction of the cost of other colleges, rural towns booming with the new Gold rush, and the finest hospice care in all of the USA. Sitting on the front porch in downtown Putney, I opened a pack of Vermont Gold, lit a joint, and passed it to my friend. "Just imagine how a match can light up so many splendid dreams." We sat quietly reflecting in the dream-filled haze of the sunset, blissfully at peace with the newfound prosperity of Vermont. "Yup," he said as he took a deep toke. "Thar's gold in these hills." - --- MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.