February 5, 2016

Legalization Debate Continues

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Montpelier(Feb. 3) – The debate over legalizing marijuana continued this week in Montpelier, as businesses and organizations voiced their worries.

The Senate Committee for Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs listened to several testimonies from a trucking company, to the collaborative attempting to pass the bill.

Dave Malloy, safety manager for Bellavance Trucking voiced his concerns about legal marijuana use, and what it means for employers.

Since there is no accurate method of testing a person’s THC levels, he said he is concerned about liability.

“It’s the liability that has me rattled,” Malloy said.

Malloy said he doesn’t know how to regulate liability and, as a facts based people, he would like to see some numbers and facts.

Malloy said that the current legislation does not allow for random drug testing, unless the driver is in possession of a vehicle of a certain weight.

“It’s not whether you like or dislike cannabis,” Malloy said, “ it’s about how you protect yourself.”

The legalization bill, S.241, passed Senate Judiciary last week and was received with many questions and mixed opinions from the committee.

“One can support the bill and support economic development,” said Sen. Philip Baruth (D)

Bill Lofy, member of the Vermont Cannabis Collaborative said that the bill represents change and economic growth that’s worth doing.

He said that he knows all the senators on the committee and that they have open minds, but that they have many concerns.

Lofy said that his biggest obstacle after Wednesday’s testimonies, is convincing lawmakers, and concerned citizens, that this change is good.

As for the concerns voiced by employers about workplace safety, either at work or before, Lofy said that weed has no place in the workplace.

“You shouldn’t use marijuana and be in a workplace,” he said, “that’s our view [The Vermont Cannabis Collaborative].”

He said there should be a really strong system for drug free workplaces and that they should start working out a model now, instead of waiting for legalization.

“I think the change is hard and this [legalization] represents change,” Lofy said, “I always think it’s easier for lawmakers to maintain a status quo position.”


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