February 12, 2016

Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs Marks Up Bill S.24—the Legalization Saga Continues

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Montpellier (Feb. 10)—“Somebody’s going to come out with that test,” Sen. Kevin Mullins answers witness John Connors Wednesday morning during his testimony regarding the legalization of marijuana. The main concerns in this ongoing debate in the Vermont Senate revolve around the lack of accurate testing for the presence of marijuana in the blood and what that means for workplace safety.

The question is how do we regulate marijuana until someone does come out with an accurate test for this? John Connors, of Connors Contracting, expressed his concerns about this bill adding more liability to the employers, not the employees. When the nitty gritty details regarding drug testing and issues like Workers Comp and discrimination are examined, Connors has a point that the senate Committee was willing to hear.

“The devil is in the details,” as Sen. Becky Balint (D-Windham), who also serves on the Committee on Institutions, would say. On Wednesday, Damien Leonard, Legislative Counsel, took the bill to the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs for mark-up where this statement definitely rings true. Much of the language being amended during this session regards the right to random drug testing and freedom to establish “drug-free workplaces”.

More concerns from witnesses regarding drug testing and workplace safety will be heard this coming Tuesday. It is hopeful the Senate Committee will get through this mark-up by next week, where it will then move to the next Senate Committee for review.

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