March 19, 2016

Marijuana prohibition could be doing more harm than good

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Montpelier (Feb 16) – Continuing to ban marijuana could be hurting kids instead of protecting them. Through lumping cannabis in with other dangerous substances like heroin or meth it “diminishes potency when talking to young people about the dangers of drugs like heroin” said Representative Chris Pearson in a joint hearing of the House Committee on Judiciary and House Committee on Government Operations.

Pearson went on to explain saying “if kids experiment with marijuana they will likely wake up the next morning and look back on the night before in a pleasant way and then think maybe they [adults] were wrong about those [dangerous substances] too”. He also made the point that the prohibition of marijuana also stops any conversation and education surrounding the substance.

The two committees then did a walk through of the Senate approved marijuana legalization bill lead by Michele Childs, Legislative Counsel of the Office of Legislative Council.

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Michele Childs leads walk through of Senate approved marijuana bill

“Which state is ours [the law] most similar to?” asked Representative Robert LaClair. While Childs was starting to speak Dr. Rob Williams of the Vermont Cannabis Collaborative whispered “none of them” to some University of Vermont students sitting next to him in the audience.

“Vermont is the first state to look to legalize cannabis through legislation, which gives our elected representatives the ability to phase in a thoughtful approach to cannabis regulation. No other state has done this yet.” said Williams later when asked why Vermont’s potential marijuana law is unique. Childs did respond to LaClair’s question by saying it is most like Washington’s law because “it doesn’t allow for home grow”.

The purpose of the walk through was to educate the Representatives on the bill that the Senate had passed so that they are able to make informed decisions in the future. No action was taken by either committee today.

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