Pubdate: Tue, 15 Mar 2016
Source: Times Argus (Barre, VT)
Copyright: 2016 Times Argus
Author: Jerry Kilcourse


Concerning the recent public testimony on Senate bill S.241 to 
legalize the sale of marijuana before the House Judiciary committee, 
I find Chairwoman Maxine Grad's statement about the committee's 
alternative bill somewhat disingenuous. According to The Times Argus, 
Ms. Grad said that the alternate bill reflects the testimony her 
committee heard.

The majority of those who testified supported the legalization of 
marijuana, in general. Some of this testimony also centered on 
legalizing homegrown and allowing small farmers/vendors to 
participate in the legal production and sales of marijuana as per 
S.241. However, the House committee instead proposed only to 
decriminalize, not legalize, one or two homegrown plants. 
Decriminalization is obviously not the same as legalization. It means 
cultivation is still illegal and subject to law-enforcement action.

Secondly, the House Judiciary committee wants another committee to 
further study legalization in spite of the previous Rand study that 
the Senate Operations Committee deliberated on for four months. As 
Sen. Jeanette White noted, in Montpelier, if you don't want to do 
something, create another study committee. All this does is kick any 
action down the road for the foreseeable future.

Finally, the House committee invented a new crime by making driving 
with an alcohol level at .05 and any trace of marijuana found in a 
person's system illegal. Not only was this not in S.241, no 
scientific basis was even given why any trace would impair a driver. 
As many people know, a trace can remain long after the effect is 
gone. Just how any trace would be determined was not explained.

The majority of Vermont citizens want to legalize marijuana. As the 
previous Vermont Attorney General Kimberly Cheney testified, he can't 
name one positive thing that prohibition of marijuana has achieved. 
Maybe at this point, we need a ballot initiative.

Jerry Kilcourse

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