February 6, 2016

Vermont Legislature hears testimony for and against Bill S. 241, the Legalization of Marijuana

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Montpellier (Feb. 3)—The Senate Committee for Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs heard testimonies today from various companies and employers looking to yield the bill S.241 for the legalization of marijuana from passing through the Vermont Senate. The Senate first heard from Dave Malloy, from Bellavance Trucking Co. Malloy expressed concerns regarding marijuana and the workplace—“how do we regulate liability?” Malloy presses the committee.

Malloy and other testifiers, including Bill Driscoll, Associate Industries VT, Kendal Melvin, Government Affairs Specialist from the Chamber of Commerce, and Tori Ossola, VP of Tourism in the Chamber of Commerce, expressed concerns about the lack of an accurate testing device which would report the presence of marijuana in the body. Melvin and Ossola also expressed concerns beyond testing, regarding the safety of the workplace.

Committee Chair Sen. Kevin Mullins took into consideration these concerns and expressed reservations. At this time, Mullins has some reservations regarding the bill, according to representative from the Vermont Cannabis Collaborative, Bill Lofy. Lofy took the time to testify briefly this morning and address the concerns of the opposition to this bill. Lofy testifies that the passage of this bill will create 4,000 jobs “directly and indirectly,” whether it be through cultivation or high technology research.

Lofy also hopes this will generate economic opportunity for Vermonters by the issuance of licenses across the state. “It’s like telling Ben and Jerry’s they can make ice cream, but they can’t open a scoop shop,” Lofy jokes when asked about the legality of holding multiple licenses (be it to grow, sell, test, etc.).

Lofy will return to the Senate Committee on Friday to finish his testimony, which will hopefully result in passage or stoppage of the bill so it can move onto the next Senate Committee.

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