Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Vermont governor vetoes marijuana bill, wants changes made

PoliticsVermont Gov. Vetoes Cannabis Legalization Bill Gage Peake PoliticsVermont Gov. Vetoes Cannabis Legalization Bill Gage Peake
Johnnie Parks | 25 May, 2017, 01:37

"If the Legislature agrees to make the changes I am seeking, we can move this discussion forward in a way that ensures the public health and safety of our communities", he said.

Scott said the bill should "make clear" that there will be no change in current penalties for giving or selling the drug to minors under 21 or near schools, and it should have stiffer penalties for smoking marijuana while driving or in front of children. "But a late-session compromise bill - it would have adopted the House framework, but created a commission to study a tax and regulate approach - won support in both chambers".

He asks that the panel include representatives from the departments of Public Safety, Health and Taxes. At a highly anticipated press conference in his Montpelier office, the Republican governor said he could not sign a legalization bill that passed the Vermont House and Senate earlier this month. "It'll be fairly explicit", he said of the requests he would make to the House and Senate.

Scott announced Wednesday he will send the bill, S.22, back to the Legislature because the measure does not meet his requirements on a few key points. I am, however, offering a path forward that takes a much more thorough look at what public health, safety and education policies are needed before Vermont moves toward a regulatory and revenue system for an adult-use marijuana market.

Vermont residents are among the most pot-friendly in the country, according to some studies.

Efforts to legalize marijuana via the legislature have made real progress in several states this year, coming very close in CT and Rhode Island, and advancing in other states, including Delaware, Maryland, New Mexico, and New Jersey. But unlike the legal pot states, it did not include a provision for taxed and regulated marijuana commerce.

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Of the eight states and the District of Columbia that have legalized recreational marijuana, two - MA and ME - are nearby, while Canada, to Vermont's north, is considering legalization.

"My gut tells me that most of our members are opposed to legalization and will not be wanting to suspend rules". "It was a reasonable bill that would have been a step in the right direction and it's a shame Scott will be sending it once more through the wringer where it's anyone's guess how the Legislature will handle it. Scott claims S.22 ".appears to weaken penalties for the dispensing and sale of marijuana to minors".

"We are all concerned about youth safety and roadside safety", said Laura Subin, director of the Vermont Coalition to Regulate Marijuana.

The Vermont chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics applauded the governor's decision.

"But our work is not over", he said. On one hand I see the Vermont effort as demonstrating the progress that has been made in Vermont on the issue, but on the other hand I am leery of the Governor's position that he willing to work with the Legislature to get the job done.

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