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  • ShereeKrider 4:11 am on May 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: H 170, Recreational Marijuana, Vermont, VT   

    Vermont lawmakers become first to approve legal pot 


    AP MARIJUANA STATES OF PLAY A FILE USA CA

    April McCullum, The Burlington (Vt.) Free Press

    MONTPELIER, Vt. — Vermont’s Legislature become the first in the nation Wednesday to approve a recreational marijuana legalization bill.

    Vermont’s bill, which would legalize small amounts of marijuana possession in 2018 and anticipate the possibility of a taxed and regulated legal marijuana market, was approved in the Vermont House of Representatives on Wednesday afternoon by a vote of 79-66. The state Senate already passed the bill, so it will go directly to GOP Gov. Phil Scott.

    Eight states — Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon and Washington — and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana following a voter referendum, but no state yet has legalized marijuana solely through the legislative process, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Legalization advocates said bills were pending in other state legislatures.

    “I think it reflects that Vermont elected officials are more in touch with our constituents than a lot of elected officials in other states,” said Vermont Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman, a member of the Vermont Progressive Party who has worked on marijuana issues for the majority of his political career. “I think the public is ahead of us, but elected officials tend to be cautious when it comes to change.”

    Wednesday’s vote closed a debate over legalization, particularly in the state House. The divisiveness once prompted Senate President Pro Tempore Tim Ashe, a Democrat from Burlington, Vt., to predict that legalization would take a miracle to pass this year.

    Advocates hugged and shared high-fives outside the two chambers after the vote.

    “Vermont elected officials are more in touch with our constituents than a lot of elected officials in other states.”

    Earlier in the day, the House Judiciary Committee voted 8-3 to support the limited bill, which was pitched as a compromise between the House and Senate approaches on marijuana.

    The proposal incorporates H.170, a House-supported bill that would legalize possession of up to one ounce of marijuana, two mature marijuana plants or four immature marijuana plants for adults older than 21. The effective date was pushed to July 1, 2018.

    The bill also sets up a nine-member commission to study the best way to regulate marijuana.

    “There’s no slam dunk of any kind,” Rep. Barbara Rachelson, a Burlington Democrat, said about the prospect of a legal marijuana market. “It just is doing work that could be used next year or in subsequent years.”

    The proposal would continue to prohibit driving under the influence of marijuana and the use of marijuana in public places. Employers, landlords, schools and prisons could continue to restrict marijuana use.

    “The data indicates that our youth are using marijuana more infrequently, and I don’t think we should put that in jeopardy,” said GOP Rep. Scott Beck of St. Johnsbury, Vt., who voted against the bill.

    Democratic Rep. Susan Buckholz of Hartford, Vt., said declining marijuana use among the state’s high school students, measured at 37% in the latest Vermont Youth Risk Behavior Survey, shows that anti-drug education is working.

    “We need to make a move to be treating this as a public health issue for those for whom it is a health issue and letting other people use this substance responsibly,” Buckholz said.

    Vermont's House minority leader, GOP Rep. Don Turner

    Vermont’s House minority leader, GOP Rep. Don Turner of Milton, speaks May 10, 2017, against a marijuana legalization bill at the Statehouse in Montpelier, Vt. (Photo: Glenn Russell, The Burlington (Vt.) Free Press)

    If Scott signs the bill, a new commission would be responsible for drafting a system to tax and regulate marijuana and submitting the plan to the Legislature. The end result would need to be a marijuana regulatory system that  “increases public safety and reduces harm to public health.”

    “The administration will be at the table, along with the attorney general and others,” said Democratic Rep. Maxine Grad of Moretown, Vt., chairwoman of the House Judiciary Committee. “With Massachusetts and Maine starting up in 2018, I think we need to continue this conversation.”

    Scott repeatedly has expressed concerns about marijuana and highway safety. He has the choice to sign the bill, veto the bill, or allow it to become law without his signature.

    The first-term Republican governor declined to say before Wednesday’s House vote whether he would veto the legislation.

    “I don’t believe this is a priority for Vermont,” Scott said. “I believe that what we should be doing is trying to find ways to protect those on our highways, deliver a level of impairment that is consistent throughout the Northeast, as well as to address the edibles for our kids before we move forward with legalization. Having said that, I’m going to review the bill as it’s passed.”

    Follow April McCullum on Twitter: @April_McCullum

    Note: Vermont legislators changed the effective date of the bill below to July 1, 2018.

    CONTINUE READING….

    PDF OF H 170 AND VIDEO

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  • ShereeKrider 1:34 pm on March 3, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , David Zuckerman, , nullification, S.95, Vermont   

    Vermont Bill would Legalize Marijuana, Effectively Nullify Federal Prohibition 


    A bill introduced in Vermont would authorize marijuana to be taxed and regulated similar to alcohol, legalizing the plant, and effectively nullifying the federal prohibition on the same.

    Senate Bill 95 (S.95) was introduced on Feb. 18 by State Sen. David Zuckerman (D-Chittenden). If this bill is successful, Vermont would become the first state to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes through the legislature rather than the popular vote.

    SB95 would allow “a person who is 21 years of age or older to possess limited amounts of marijuana for personal use, while retaining civil and criminal penalties for possession above the limits and for unauthorized dispensing or sale of marijuana” and would create “civil penalties for a person who is under 21 years of age who possesses marijuana or attempts to procure marijuana from a registered marijuana establishment.”

    Under the bill, Vermont residents would be authorized to possess “two mature marijuana plants; seven immature marijuana plants; one ounce of marijuana; and any additional marijuana produced by the person’s marijuana plants, provided that any amount of marijuana in excess of one ounce of marijuana must be possessed in the same secure indoor facility where the plants were cultivated.” Nonresidents would be allowed to possess a quarter ounce of marijuana.

    Dispensaries and retail marijuana shops would be allowed under SB95 if they pay the necessary fees and follow appropriate licensing procedures outlined in the bill. Marijuana distribution centers must be 1000 feet from schools and child-care facilities. Marijuana possession and distribution conducted in ways not authorized by SB95 would be punishable by a civil infraction, and then possibly jail time.

    Bills like SB95 are sweeping the nation, and for good reason. Reforms like these can affect federal policy while circumventing the Washington D.C. power structure completely. The best thing about measures such as SB95 is that they are completely lawful and Constitutional, and there is little if anything the feds can do to stop them!

    CONSTITUTIONALITY

    Congress and the president claim the constitutional authority to ban marijuana. The Supreme Court concurs. However, nearly two-dozen states have taken steps to put the well-being of their citizens above the so-called federal supremacy by legalizing marijuana to varying degrees anyway.

    “The rapidly growing and wildly successful state-level movement to legalize marijuana, either completely, or for medical use, proves that states can successfully effectively reject unconstitutional federal acts. The feds can claim the authority to prohibit pot all they want, but it clearly has done nothing to deter states from moving forward with plans to allow it, pushed by the will of the people,” Tenth Amendment Center executive director Michael Boldin said.

    The momentum is on our side, but Vermont cannot legalize it without your help. This effort needs your support to achieve victory. SB95 is currently in Senate Committee on Judiciary where it will need to successfully pass through before it can receive a full vote in the state senate.

    ACTION ITEMS

    If you live in Vermont, support this bill by following all the action steps at THIS LINK.

    All Other States, take action to push back against the federal drug war at this link.

    CONTINUE READING…

     
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