February 26, 2016

Opposing Voices on the Marijuana Debate State Their Cases to UVM Students

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Burlington (Feb 22) – Kevin Ellis from Ellis-Mills Public Affairs and Bill Lofy, former chief of staff of Governor Shumlin argued their sides of the marijuana debate in front of a class of UVM students Monday morning. Ellis, who is on the anti-legalization side of the discussion, urged students to view legal, regulated, recreational marijuana as a detriment to the “the very fabric of society.” He compared regulating marijuana to casinos, adding, “Casinos are bad. They do bad things and they attract bad people. And that’s what a marijuana market will do to Vermont.”

 

Bill Lofy, who is a part of the VT Cannabis Collaborative, stressed the economic potential marijuana legalization has in Vermont. He emphasized that with the current black market, you cannot be sure that the cannabis you’re consuming is safe, pure, and unlaced. While he acknowledged that persons underage would still be using marijuana, he argued that at least it would be safely regulated.

 

Did any of this affect student opinion? UVM student Chris Cole viewed Ellis’ arguments were “predicated on fear, not fact.” Cole said his pro-legalization sentiments were strengthened by the arguments from both men. However, not every student is convinced that marijuana legalization in Vermont is a good path. Elena, sophomore, is concerned about the effects legalization could have on Vermont’s children. “I think legalizing would make marijuana use more attractive to kids.” When asked if she thinks legalization would change the campus atmosphere at all, Lydia, sophomore, replied, “I think it would stay the same. It’s already pretty prevalent. I mean, have you see 4/20 around here?”

 

The marijuana legalization bill, S.241, passed in the Senate last Thursday and is now heading for the House.

 

 

 

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