In his final State of the State address, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin called for the legalization of cannabis, something that has been introduced in the state’s legislature.
“The outdated War on Drugs has also failed, and there is no greater example than our nation’s marijuana laws,” Shumlin said.
Later in the speech before legislators he pledged to support a better way. “These illegal dealers couldn’t care less how young their customers are or what’s in the product they sell, or what illegal drugs you buy from their stash, much less whether they pay taxes on their earnings. That’s why I will work with you to craft the right bill that thoughtfully and carefully eliminates the era of prohibition that is currently failing us so miserably.”
Shumlin called for a regulated system that keeps cannabis away from kids while undercutting the black market. He also wants expanded addiction treatment programs and a more concerted effort to keep “impaired drivers who are under the influence of marijuana” off Vermont’s roads. Lastly he called for a ban on edibles until other states “figure out how to do it right.”
A typical plan you would expect from a politician who is not really familiar with cannabis, but it’s better than the current system of prohibition by a long shot. Keeping “impaired” drivers off the road will likely evolve into some sort of THC limit for a driver’s blood that in no way shows driver impairment; as for an edibles ban, this will only serve to hurt medical marijuana users when doing it right is simply a matter of having dosing instructions on the edible package.
Having the governor of a state behind a plan gives it a lot more political clout when it moves through the legislature. It obviously doesn’t guarantee victory, but the chances that marijuana legalization comes to Vermont just got a lot better.