Pubdate: Wed, 28 Jan 2015
Source: Rutland Herald (VT)
Copyright: 2015 Rutland Herald
Author: Neal P. Goswami


MONTPELIER - Gov. Peter Shumlin said Tuesday he has no plans to 
partake in legal marijuana if the state moves to allow it.

"No," Shumlin said, when asked by Seven Days reporter Terri 
Hallenbeck if he would smoke legal weed. "Been there, done that."

Shumlin appeared caught off guard when asked when he last smoked marijuana.

"Oh, my God," Shumlin said. "It was a while ago. I'm old."

During an open-ended press conference Tuesday, the 58-year-old 
governor then clarified that he last smoked pot in his late 20s, but 
gave it up as his responsibilities grew.

"My guess is that a lot of Vermonters of my generation feel like I do 
about marijuana, which is, it is something that we smoked when we 
were young," he said.

"I found that as I got into my 20s and took on more responsibility, 
it didn't have the same desirable effect on me, and I stopped smoking 
it because as I took on more responsibility, or I don't know what in 
my late 20s, I just found that it wasn't much fun any more."

"My staff's going to kill me for this," he added, glancing at Chief 
of Staff Liz Miller and spokesman Scott Coriell.

The RAND Corp. recently released a report estimating that Vermont 
could net between $20 million and $75 million annually by legalizing 
marijuana. The higher end of potential revenue would be possible if 
surrounding states did not follow suit and out-of-state residents 
came to Vermont to buy it.

Shumlin said he is no rush to beat surrounding states simply for 
additional revenue.

"I don't think we should be driven by tax revenue," he said. "I think 
we should be driven by doing the right thing for Vermonters in a way 
that is better than the current system, which forces an illegal 
market that isn't regulated, that isn't controlled, that anyone can 
have access to, including kids."

The governor added, "Kids will tell you that it's easier to get pot 
. than it is (to get) alcohol. That suggests that the regulatory 
market works."

Shumlin said he spoke with Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper on Monday 
about the issue. Colorado has legalized recreational use of marijuana 
through a ballot initiative. Shumlin said Vermont should take its 
time and learn from Colorado and the state of Washington before acting.

"I really think that we can learn a lot from the states that have 
gone first on this and ... learning what works and what doesn't," he 
said. "I'll continue to evolve and learn from their experiences. I 
think the report gives us a good road map of choices that we could 
make should we move to legalization."

One lesson already learned, Shumlin said, is that Vermont should 
avoid allowing edible products made with marijuana.

"Edibles are a real challenge for states," he said. "I would love to 
see Vermont avoid those problems if we were to go ahead."
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom