Pubdate: Fri, 22 Jul 2011
Source: Brattleboro Reformer (VT)
Copyright: 2011 Brattleboro Publishing Co.
Author: T. Namaya


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discovered that Vermont had finally repealed its archaic compliance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with this outdated mandate was too much for pragmatic Vermont.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
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.