Vermont’s Governor Peter Shumlin announced his plans to move marijuana legalization forward in his State of the State address at the beginning of the year. January isn’t even over and the Senate Judiciary Committee has already approved a bill to make this happen.
Gov. Shumlin issued the following statement after the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the drafted legislation to legalize marijuana in Vermont:
“I want to thank Senator Sears for his leadership and the entire Judiciary Committee for their hard work on this bill. This legislation meets the principles I outlined in my State of the State Address and I believe it provides the framework for our state to cautiously, step-by-step and in the Vermont way end the failed war on drugs policy of marijuana prohibition. This debate is about whether we can take a smarter approach towards marijuana, which is already widely available and used by tens of thousands of Vermonters. Promoting prevention, keeping marijuana out of the hands of kids, getting rid of illegal drug dealers, and doing a better job responding to impaired drivers already on our roads, I believe this legislation is a huge improvement on the failed war on drugs. I look forward to working with the Legislature as they continue to debate this issue.”
The as-of-yet-unnamed bill S.241 skips the medical-only legislation that many states start with and jumps straight into full legalization. This would make it legal for adults 21 years of age and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana. They also identify six different types of entities that will be able to legally be licensed for marijuana related business: cannabis cultivator, cannabis transporter, cannabis-infused product manufacturer, cannabis testing laboratory, cannabis retailer, and cannabis lounge.
The big ones that jump out here are transporter and lounge. Transporter could mean wholesaler delivery, but it could also allow for home delivery. Nice, but not Cannabis Lounge nice. Including lounges in the legislation means that cafes offering a marijuana menu will not be out of the question.
That right there, cannabis lounges, means they are serious about cleaning up marijuana’s image. Other legalization efforts still expect people to hide in their homes, accepting the taboo reputation that decades of negative propaganda has visited upon this plant. Allowing people to partake in particular places will help profoundly with public perception.