You can be sure Vermont lawmakers will continue their debate on marijuana come January.
“Whether or not it should be legalized, as well as medical marijuana and if it should expand or not,” says Sen. Dick Sears, (D) Bennington.
But there’s also the question of what happens if neighboring Massachusetts and Maine vote to legalize marijuana in November?
The two New England neighbors have marijuana initiatives on their November ballots.
Senator Sears says legalized pot in Massachusetts could trigger more drivers under the influence riding along Vermont highways.
“We have a problem of drugged driving all over the nation, not just in Vermont, but how do we respond to that?”
The state reports 80,000 Vermonters admit to using marijuana on a monthly basis.
Vermont’s marijuana legalization bill died in the Vermont house this session.
The Attorney Generals Office says legalization in neighboring states could strengthen the fight to legalize marijuana in the future.
If Massachusetts does, for example, then it’s harder to justify having a restriction in Vermont on the basis that we’re trying to keep it out of states where it’s still illegal, says Assistant Attorney General, Ben Battles.
But lawmakers say there’s plenty Vermont can learn from other states who’ve already legalized marijuana.
“We know that sales for example in Washington, in the southern part of Washington state fell off when Oregon legalized, so we can learn from other states,” says Sen. Sears.
As the next legislative session nears, lawmakers are reviewing how marijuana legalization, both in Vermont and surrounding states, could impact youth and the state’s criminal justice system.
“It’s not only Massachusetts, what happens when Canada does it, legalize it, if they do, Quebec’s not far away so I think there are a lot of issues we need to be prepared for,” says Sen. Sears.
Out west, two other states with marijuana legalization on the November ballot are Arizona and California.
News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: Vermont Lawmakers Brace For Marijuana Legalization In Nearby States
Author: Rachel Aragon
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