April 7, 2016

House Judiciary Fears the Implications of Legalization

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Maxine Grad, chair of the House Judiciary contemplates bill S.241.

Maxine Grad, chair of the House Judiciary contemplates bill S.241.

(April 6—Montpelier)—“I am afraid S.241, the way it stands now, is creating unintended criminals,” said Chair of the Vermont House Judiciary, Maxine Grad, Wednesday morning in Montpelier. This fear stems from the regulations in the current legislation regarding the legal limit for possession as it pertains to 21 year olds, or minors. Grad hopes to avoid creating felons with sloppiness of language in the current bill.

Tensions ran high Wednesday morning as the House Judiciary Committee again looked at the bill regarding the legalization of marijuana. The committee analyzed the regulations currently standing around Vermont’s recent decriminalization of the drug. The committee learned they have much more to figure out before they are comfortable voting out S.241.

Ranking member of the committee, Thomas Burditt, from Rutland, Vermont, expressed his concerns about this bill creating “a grey or black economy.” One of the main arguments supporting this bill has long been that legalization would eliminate this black market economy. The judiciary committee is thinking otherwise.

Grad hopes to have closure on this bill come this Friday, an optimistic deadline for this committee. As the committee plans out each and every detail that needs to be amended, added or erased from this bill, Representatives Vicki Strong, of Irasburg ,VT and Marcia Martel, of Waterford, VT, wonder if this bill is worth spending so much time on.

It is clear that this bill, and the Judiciary Committee, has many conflicts to work out before the public will see a passed version of this legislation.

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