Governor Peter Shumlin supports the new bill which would fully legalize recreational marijuana in the state of Vermont, as he and many others are are calling the current status quo a failure. He, and Senator Richard Sears, announce that the bill would remove civil penalties for possession of an ounce or less of marijuana for people 21 years of age and older. The bill would also provide harsher punishments for people over 21 who supply alcohol and/or marijuana to minors. The revenue earned from marijuana taxes would go primarily to help pay for drug addiction programs and add more state troopers. Simply put, the current system in place isn't working and the state of Vermont is looking for a smarter and more thoughtful approach to legalization of marijuana.
Shumlin outlined five legalization principles in his State of the State Address. Via Shumlin’s online statement:
• A legal market must keep marijuana and other drugs out of the hands of underage kids. With 83 percent of Vermont youth saying that marijuana is easy or somewhat easy to obtain, the current system doesn’t do this.
• The tax imposed must be low enough to wipe out the black market and get rid of the illegal drug dealers.
• Revenue from legalization must be used to expand addiction prevention programs.
• Law enforcement’s capacity to improve the response to impaired drivers under the influence of marijuana who are already on Vermont’s roads must be strengthened.
• The sale of edibles must be prohibited at first.