Legalization in Vermont Hits a Setback


On May 3, 2016, the Vermont House of Representatives voted against legislative efforts for both legalization and decriminalization of marijuana in the state, according to the Burlington Free Press.

Rejected efforts included: legalized possession of one ounce or less, a nonbinding referendum on pot, and decriminalization that would replace criminal charges with fines, the Burlington Free Press said.

Sen. Richard Sears, D-Bennington, the Judiciary Committee chairman who was the principle writer of a Senate version of the House bill, said, “It’s unfortunate we’re dealing with it in the final hours of the session.” Vermont’s legislative session is supposed to end Friday or Saturday.

However, Vergennes Police Chief George Merkel, president of the Vermont Police Association, said, “I think all of law enforcement is happy with the results. It went very well.”

Stephanie Winters, executive director of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Vermont chapter, also was “very pleased” with the House vote.

But in a statement from his office, Gov. Peter Shumlin said, “The War on Drugs policy of marijuana prohibition has failed. I want to thank those House members who recognize that and worked to move this issue forward. It is incredibly disappointing, however, that a majority of the House has shown a remarkable disregard for the sentiment of most Vermonters who understand that we must pursue a smarter policy when it comes to marijuana in this state.”

The staff byline designates content that has been written by a staff writer of MJINews.

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