Dowland Wants Marijuana Legalized

Dowland Wants Marijuana Legalized
Posted by CN Staff on March 03, 2005 at 16:53:01 PT
By Paul Lefebvre
Source: Barton Chronicle
Montpelier -- A freshman legislator from Holland has drafted a bill to legalize the sale of marijuana. Winston Dowland, a Progressive who last fall defeated the veteran Nancy Sheltra ó one of the most conservative lawmakers in the state ó was carrying a bill in his pocket last week that would eliminate criminal penalties for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana.
In a statement released this week, as he was making the rounds of Town Meetings in his district, Representative Dowland said he wants to initiate a public discussion."I do not expect this proposal will be enacted this year," he said. "I hope it will get some hearings in the Legislature, though."The bill says the stateís present law is not working to keep the illicit weed out of the hands of minors, and calls for a fundamental change in the stateís attitude toward the drug."A new approach is needed to meet the goals of preventing our children from using marijuana, discouraging adult misuses, and keeping our communities safe," says the bill."By implementing a system of taxation and regulation, the state will maintain strict control of the cultivation and sale of marijuana, thereby removing its control from the criminal market."The bill would license marijuana wholesalers and retailers, and impose a retail tax. Sales would be limited to those 21 and older, and the measure calls for stiff penalties for those caught selling marijuana to minors.Representative Dowland, the sole sponsor of the bill, said in an interview last week that he realized that some may regard the bill as too hot to handle. In fact, when he told his wife what he planned to do, she warned he might be cutting his political life short."Thatís alright," he said he told her. "I didnít come down here to make a career."The reason why they elected me in the Northeast Kingdom is to come down here and make a difference," he added.Mr. Dowland noted there are safeguards in the bill, and touted the measure as a way of raising revenues to pay for health care programs connected to drug, alcohol, and tobacco use.Mr. Dowland added he is critical of an approach that is "putting people in jail for a couple lousy joints" at a time when the state is "worried about prison overcrowding."According to facts provided by the Representative, of the 1,785 marijuana charges resolved by Vermont courts last year, 87 percent were for misdemeanor possession charges of less than two ounces. Prison sentences were handed down in 255 convictions, of which 171 were for misdemeanor convictions.The bill is expected to be introduced on the House floor when the House returns from its Town Meeting break.Mr. Dowland serves on the House Committee of General, Housing, and Military Affairs.Source: Barton Chronicle (VT)Author: Paul LefebvrePublished: March 2, 2005Contact: news bartonchronicle.comWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives
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Comment #1 posted by Hope on March 07, 2005 at 17:24:17 PT
Very Good.Exhultation!Thankfulness!
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