By Keith Mansur
Oregon Cannabis Connection
Governor Phil Scott (R) of Vermont has voice concern over signing the marijuana legalization bill passed last week by the state legislature. The Vermont bill, if signed, would legalize possession of less than an ounce of cannabis. It also allows for cultivation of two mature plants at a residence. There is no change to the DUII laws in the bill. The fear of increased traffic fatalities and DUII seems to be a seminal concern of the governor.
Phil Scott has supported decriminalization for years. Though some had expected he would sign the bill, he expressed his concerns about full legalization on Vermont Public Radio (VPR) on Friday, May 12. Tom Angell at Mass Roots reported:
Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) says that this week’s passage of a marijuana legalization bill by the legislature “came as a bit of a surprise” and that he hasn’t yet made up his mind on whether he will let it be enacted into law.
“I’m not philosophically opposed to legalization but I do believe we’ve got to get this right,” he said in a Friday appearance on Vermont Public Radio’s Vermont Edition, adding that he is “incredibly concerned about highway safety.” The governor also raised concerns about children’s access to edibles.
No provision has yet been established to produce or distribute legally, but the bill would also create a 9 member commission that would be tasked with determining the best path forward. Many have lauded the move as being progressive and a good way to proceed. A recent poll showed that 57% of Vermont residents support “allowing adults who are 21 or older to use, possess, and securely grow marijuana.”
Governor Scott’s hesitation is not unexpected. During the campaign in 2016 he also appeared on VPR in June last year and expressed his point of view on a number of issues, one of which was marijuana legalization. VPR reported:
“I’ve been consistent in my response … when I was in the Senate, I voted in favor of medical marijuana. I was supportive of decriminalization. But I’ve said, ‘Not right now.’ I don’t think we have enough information at this point. We have four other states that have legalized right now, and until we have some answers to questions, like impairment on our highways and the edibles and the tax structure and so forth and so on, I think we – the governor of Colorado even said … ‘My advice to any states that are looking to legalize is, why don’t you wait a couple years?’ And they’ll work some things out. We’ll learn from them. We can’t afford to make any mistakes here. So I’m not saying never. I’m saying it’s the timing’s not right. It’s not now.”
We hope Governor Scott does the right thing and signs this bill. The majority of the constituents want it, and once its legal, even more will be happy the law finally changed. His fears are unfounded and the facts do not support the idea that traffic fatalities will rise, or any other pernicious effects that are always deals in facts, the decision is easy.
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