State Senators Jeanette White and Joe Benning have introduced S.241, a bill that would legalize recreational marijuana and allow for legal possession, sales and home growing of cannabis for adults. If passed, legal possession and home growing would become legal by the summer of 2016, with commercial cultivation, distribution and retail sales to come in 2017.
The licenses for these businesses would be issued by the new Board of Cannabis Control, which would be established by the new law to oversee its implementation. The bill itself does not address the issue of taxes; those will be left for the board to decide.
"In my mind, the best reason for doing this is that it's a choice that adults ought to be able to make," Senator White told TV channel WPTZ. "We've said this thing, alcohol, we'll not only endorse, but we'll sell to you, and this thing over here which is not so good for you, marijuana, we're going to make you a criminal if you use it. That's my bottom line for doing this."
Those are good reasons to legalize cannabis, along with many others. Whatever the reason, the end result is the same: more freedom for adults, more economic activity and less people going to jail — people who have not infringed on the rights of anyone else.
And let’s face it, politicians need reasons. They need short sound bites that they can feed to the voters. At least in this case, the sound bites are true. The benefits of legalization are evident and more proof about the benign nature of the cannabis plant piles up every day.
Maybe Vermont will be yet another state to legalize in the year 2016.