Vermont Legislature to be First to Legalize MJ
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Vermont Legislature to be First to Legalize MJ
Posted by CN Staff on March 14, 2016 at 05:33:02 PT
By Scott Malone
Source: Reuters
Montpelier, Vt. -- Liberal-leaning Vermont could become the first U.S. state to legalize recreational marijuana use through legislation, rather than by voter initiative, in a move that advocates for the drug say could speed its acceptance across the nation.State representatives this month are set to take up a bill passed by the state Senate in February that would allow adults over 21 to purchase and smoke the drug beginning in 2018.
The move follows a year of hearings in the Senate that lawmakers say allowed them to closely consider appropriate limits to place on the drug's use. The current proposal would prohibit users from growing plants at home and ban the sale of edible products containing marijuana extracts.But lawmakers must act before the end of May, when the current session ends, a deadline that may prove difficult to meet. It is uncertain whether it has enough support in the Democratic-controlled House to pass.The law would impose a 25 percent tax on sales of the drug, which would fund drug law enforcement and drug education programs."It makes for a much more thoughtful and measured approach," said State Senator Jeanette White, a sponsor of the senate bill. "We got to work out the details, we got to ask the questions first and put the whole infrastructure in place before it happens."Four states, Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska, as well as the District of Columbia, have legalized marijuana through ballot initiatives, and voters in four more states, including neighboring Massachusetts, are to vote on legalization in November. The drug remains illegal under federal law.Advocates contend the push for marijuana legalization across the nation will be boosted if the legislation is passed by the Democratic-controlled legislature of Vermont, the home of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination.Bills have been submitted in 16 other states, according to advocates, but none have advanced as far."It sends an important message that legislatures don't have to be afraid of this, it's not a third rail anymore," said Jeff Laughlin, a 37-year-old software programmer from Barre, who supports the measure.Laughlin is far from alone. A February poll of 895 state residents by Vermont Public Radio found that 55 percent of Vermonters supported legalization, with 32 percent opposed.More telling, a 2015 Rand Corp study commissioned by the state found that one in eight residents already use the drug illegally, with one in three people aged 18 to 25 doing so. The report estimated that users spent between $125 million and $225 million on the drug in 2014.Reality CheckThe high prevalence of marijuana use in the state has some lawmakers and even law-enforcement officials contending it's time for the rules to catch up with reality."If it's one in eight, to me that tells me that we need to change, that society for the most part is accepting it," said Windham County Sheriff Keith Clark. "If 12 or 13 percent of the population is not being open with law enforcement when we're out trying to investigate serious crimes, then that is holding us back from working with our communities."Supporters acknowledge that the bill will have a harder path to approval in the state's House of Representatives, where many Republicans are wary of legalizing the drug."Many of our members are opposed to this proposal and I don't know that it can be changed enough for them to change their minds," said Representative Donald Turner, the House Republican leader. "I don't feel there is a good argument for legalizing it at this point."Governor Peter Shumlin, a Democrat in his final year in office, asked lawmakers to pass the measure during this year's legislative session, which ends in May.Debby Haskins, executive director of opposition group Smart Alternatives for Marijuana-Vermont, noted that Vermont, like many U.S. states, is coping with a surge in addiction to opioid drugs, ranging from prescription painkillers to heroin.She said she believed health officials needed to solve that problem before legalizing a new drug."The questions that keep coming up for me is, how will this make Vermont healthier and how will this improve the quality of life? I don't think this bill does it," Haskins said. "It's the wrong direction for us to be heading."Editing by Frank McGurty and Phil BerlowitzSource: Reuters (Wire)Author:  Scott MalonePublished: March 14, 2016Copyright: 2016 Thomson ReutersCannabisNews -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #14 posted by Hope on March 18, 2016 at 10:38:15 PT
Interesting read by Johann Hari.
7 Facts About Drugs and Addiction That Will Make You Question Everything You Know
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Comment #13 posted by Had Enough on March 18, 2016 at 08:29:23 PT
Tampa, Florida
Tampa City Council approves marijuana measure; law awaits mayor’s signature*** still to be least it's in the right direction...
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Comment #12 posted by FoM on March 17, 2016 at 19:57:07 PT
Paint with Light
They will never let Obama do anything. Obama is one patient man. I will miss him when he is not our President.
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Comment #11 posted by Sam Adams on March 17, 2016 at 11:43:22 PT
up in smoke
it's so funny to see these tyrants act like they're helping us - no *smoking* of herb allowed! and god forbid - no gardening!!!!that's because they don't want to interfere with the ability to round up the black people & latinos for prison.  Any 14-year-old kid in Pennsylvania can *smoke* herb wheneve they want, and all the cops in the world can't stop it. It'd be nice if these tyrants were concerned about ground water like they are about herb smoke. Apparently in some parts of PA you can light your kitchen tap water on fire from the fracking chemicals coming out of faucet.
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on March 16, 2016 at 19:29:26 PT
Pennsylvania House Passes Medical Marijuana Bill
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on March 16, 2016 at 19:28:10 PT
Thank you. It was very sad.
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Comment #8 posted by Paint with light on March 16, 2016 at 19:27:49 PT
This is the first I've read on the new nominee for SCOTUS.
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Comment #7 posted by Sam Adams on March 16, 2016 at 09:31:55 PT
FOM, wow, that's a sad story, I"m sorry about your brother in law. A lot of times the heroin people are buying is made up of fentanyl and other more nasty stuff I guess.
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Comment #6 posted by The GCW on March 15, 2016 at 10:28:57 PT
It works.I don't want to knock their list..., however, the more they want to help the "opioid epidemic" the more they must acknowledge cannabis in the equation. They can start by stopping the myth that heroin is no worse than cannabis.But there are enough ways in which cannabis can help that it is mind boggling that it is ignored. People who have lost family etc. due to hard drugs should be especially disappointed in government's association to cannabis prohibition and how it directly relates to higher heroin death rates.Because of cannabis prohibition, the feds have blood on their hands of all kinds.
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Comment #5 posted by MikeEEEEE on March 15, 2016 at 10:06:28 PT
Bill to Combat Opioid Epidemic Passes Senate'm not sure if this link works, let me know.
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on March 14, 2016 at 18:09:10 PT
I had a brother in law who battled heroin addiction for 30 years and finally quit. A few years later he slipped up and they found him dead with a needle in his arm in his semi truck. The autopsy showed very little heroin in his system but it killed him. Cannabis is nothing like heroin!
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Comment #3 posted by MikeEEEEE on March 14, 2016 at 15:48:11 PT
The uninformed 
Opioids are obviously very different. I think the only similarity is that both come from plants. To link opioids with cannabis only serves to sway the uninformed.If you've ever taken Percocet (a synthetic opioid) you may remember some of the side effects, consipation, dizziness, drowsiness.
One side effect hardly spoken about is what happens when somebody overdoses on herorin or Vicodin, etc. The one side effect reported le for death is respiratory depression. When the bowels slow, the breathing slows, the more the dose, the more the slowing.
If you've taken a Percocet, you probably survived, because you took it as instructed. The problem with non- pharm. herorin is that it is made into different concentrations, making it hard to know the proper dose. Not knowing the right dose is where people screw up and overdose. And, if a friend or family finds that person overdosed, and does not have Narcan to reverse the effects, they're toast. One thing that has annoyed me is that the US does not treat addicts like they do in some countries in Europe. In those countries like the Swiss and Dutch, there are programs where the addicts receive pharmaceutical herorin from a doctor--and that prevents the overdosing. These people survive, and families do not suffer their death. Also, in these countries they are not thrown into prison, left to die, or treated like a junkie. Back to cannabis: In no way is herorin like cannabis as this idiot implies/manipulates. 
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Comment #2 posted by SoupHerb on March 14, 2016 at 09:11:00 PT:
My thoughts exactly. How does one inform another that no matter how many ways to Sunday the lies are twisted they are still lies...? Educated, responsible people? Not prohibs'...
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Comment #1 posted by The GCW on March 14, 2016 at 07:35:00 PT
Myth that heroin is no worse than cannabis,
Haskins is NOT allowed to get it.*cannabis is NOT a drug but rather a God-given plant; it says so on page 1 of the Bible.*It's NOT new.*RE-legalizing cannabis will help lower opioid problems. US CT: PUB LTE: Legalizing Pot Would Reduce Drug Addiction*Haskins is part of government subsidized MYTH that heroin IS NO WORSE than cannabis!*How does cannabis prohibition and discrimination help with Vermont's quality of life?  IT DOESN'T & HASN'T & CANT *Haskins is the disease which has become the epidemic; not the cure.
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