Vermont

Vermont: First Ever Vermont Hemp Festival to be Held at Burke Mountain on Sept 9

Vermont Hemp Festival

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

The first-ever Vermont Hemp Festival is planned for Sept. 9 at Burke Mountain Resort in rural, remote Northeast Kingdom. Eli Harrington and Monica Donovan, co-founders of Heady Vermont, chose to have their inaugural hemp conference in the because Northeast Kingdom has hemp history.

Harrington said, “Heady Vermont covers everything from statehouse happenings to artists to investigative reporting and the identities of the individuals who are changing the face of Vermont’s cannabis culture.”

Vermont: Gov. Phil Scott Vetoes Social Cannabis Bill, Offers ‘Path Forward’

marijuana-istock-gaspr13_0.jpg

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

MONTPELIER, VT. - Gov. Phil Scott announced Wednesday he is vetoing a bill that would have made marijuana legal for adults in Vermont, but offered “a path forward” for passing it later this year. He specified a handful of changes that would need to be made for him to support the measure and said he believes the legislature has time to incorporate them and enact a revised version during the summer veto session.

Vermont: Cannabis Regulation Bill Reaches Governor's Desk

vermont-statehouse-cannabis.jpg

Governor Scott has until Wednesday to sign or veto S. 22, the bill to legalize cannabis in Vermont for adults over 21 before it automatically becomes law

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

The Vermont Legislature sent its cannabis regulation bill to the desk of Republican Gov. Phil Scott this past Thursday, initiating a five-day countdown during which Scott will have to decide whether to sign the legislation, veto it or allow it to become law without his signature.

If passed, the measure would allow possession of up to an ounce, two mature plants, and four immature plants, starting in July 2018. A commission would develop a proposal to tax and regulate cannabis for the Vermont Legislature to consider next year.

Vermont: Legislature First To Pass Marijuana Legalization Measure

Vermont 2.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Vermont's legislature has approved a bill that would legalize marijuana possession and small grows for adults and would create a Marijuana Regulation Commission that will draft legislation for a tax-and-regulate system.

The passage of this bill makes Vermont's legislature the first one to approve ending marijuana prohibition.

If Republican Governor Phil Scott signs the bill, adults 21 and over would be allowed to possess up to an ounce of cannabis and grow up to two mature and four immature plants beginning on July 1, 2018.

“Vermont lawmakers made history today,” Matt Simon, the New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a report from The Hill. “The legislature has taken a crucial step toward ending the failed policy of marijuana prohibition.”

The measure was a compromise between the House -- who passed their own bill last week to legalize possession and small grows -- and the Senate, who passed a tax-and-regulate measure last week.

The Hill reported that the governor has not indicated whether he will sign the measure and has previously said cannabis legalization was not “a priority.”

Vermont: Senate Passes Compromise Marijuana Bill, House Extends Session

Vermont.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Vermont's Senate passed a compromise bill on marijuana legalization Friday which could be taken up by the House on Wednesday, the Associated Press reports. Two versions were passed last week-- the House version would allow adult possession and cultivation, while the Senate version would implement a taxed and regulated regime.

The legislature had planned to adjourn on Saturday, leaving both bills hanging, but Democratic House Speaker Mitzi Johnson said the chamber would reconvene on Wednesday. The compromise legislation would legalize possession of small amounts and limited home grows by adults beginning in July 2018, but at present it is not clear if the House will take the legislation up. A commission would develop a tax-and-regulate scheme and present it to the legislature next year.

Sen. Dick Sears, a Democrat who advocates legalization, said the compromise is “a way for Vermont to join two other New England states (Massachusetts and Maine) to have a legalized, regulated seed-to-sale system at some point in the hopefully near future.”

The measure passed the chamber 20-9. But Republican Governor Phil Scott has not supported any plan legalizing marijuana and there is no guarantee he will sign the measure if it makes it to his desk.

Vermont: House Passes Medical Marijuana Expansion Bill, Goes To Governor

medical.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Vermont's House has passed a measure that would double the number of medical marijuana dispensaries in the state and would expand the qualifying condition list. The measure passed the Senate in February and now goes to the desk of Governor Phil Scott.

The bill adds Chron's disease, Parkinson's disease, and post-traumatic stress disorder to the list of conditions approved for treatment with medical marijuana and increases the number of dispensaries in the state to eight.

The bill also eliminates some of the red tape that could prevent some patients from accessing the program. It removes language that requires an applicant to have their application notarized and requirements that a physician provide a statement that other medical efforts had been made “over a reasonable amount of time without success to relieve symptoms.” The bill also adds language to protect physicians, requiring that their recommendations to include a statement that they are not prescribing marijuana, but instead confirming the patient has the qualifying condition.

If Governor Scott signs the bill, the Department of Public Safety will begin accepting applications for the four additional dispensaries on July 1.

Vermont: Senate Votes To Legalize Adult-use Marijuana

Vermont.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Vermont State Senators have voted in favor of a bill that would legalize the possession, use, and distribution of marijuana for adults 21 and over for the second year in a row.

The bill, which passed with a 21-9 vote, is an amended version of the legalization measure that Vermont Senators approved last year, which failed to pass in the House.

“We know that prohibition has not worked,” said Sen. Jeanette White, a Democrat from Windham. “Let’s make it safer, less accessible to kids.”

The proposal would eliminate criminal penalties for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana, legalize the home cultivation of the plant, and would establish a regulatory licensing system similar to that found in states that have already legalized it.

Senators who oppose the bill have argued that adult-use legalization would be a bad idea because there is no reliable method of checking drivers for cannabis intoxication. Governor Phil Scott, a Republican, has also expressed concern about intoxicated drivers, but it is unknown if he would veto a legalization bill if it came across his desk.

The bill moves next to the Vermont House, who turned down a similar proposal last year.

Vermont: Marijuana Reforms Unlikely To Pass This Session

Vermont.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Lawmakers in Vermont's senate have announced that they will not support a marijuana legalization plan being circulated in the House because it “reinforces a black market approach rather than… [a] more streamlined, regulated system,” Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe said in a report on Vermont Public Radio.

The House plan was initially approved by the chamber’s Judiciary Committee but was pulled by House leadership after it became clear it would not pass. The plan would have legalized possession of up to 1 ounce of marijuana by adults 21 and older, and allowed them to grow up to two mature and seven immature plants.

Democratic state Sen. Jeannette White said she “can’t imagine” a scenario in which the Senate would pass the House proposal, adding that the measure “does nothing to decrease the black market.”

“It in fact encourages it, because now you’re going to be able to have a certain amount, or an increased amount, and it will be completely legal,” White said in the report. “There’s no place for you to get it, so it’s going to increase the underground market.”

The report disclosed that last year the Senate passed a measure that would have legalized a taxed and regulated recreational marijuana system in the state. That bill failed in the House, however.

Vermont: Bill Would Legalize Small Amounts Of Marijuana

Vermont.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Lawmakers in the Vermont House are expected to vote soon on a measure that would legalize the possession and use of small amounts of marijuana for adults.

The bill passed out of the House Judiciary Committee last Wednesday, passing the unscheduled vote 8-3.

The full House will vote on the measure in the upcoming days.

The bill would make it legal for adults to possess up to one ounce of pot and two plants under the measure. However, it does not create a regulatory system for selling and taxing pot.

Vermont: New Bill Proposed To Legalize Recreational Marijuana

big bud.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Vermont saw a complicated bill to legalize recreational marijuana fail last year. A new, simpler bill is proposed that would allow possession of up to an ounce of marijuana, and allow Vermonters to grow several plants at home.

“The more conservative it is, the more appealing it will be to people outside this room,” said Republican Rep. Tom Burditt, one of the bill’s sponsors at the House Judiciary Committee meeting Wednesday. Burditt voted against last year’s bill.

The former bill, which passed the Vermont Senate, but failed in the House, would have created a commercial market for marijuana in the state, much like the system established in Colorado.

The new bill is much shorter, and would be more like the system in Washington, DC, where there are no provisions for sales but people can possess and grow small amounts of marijuana.

Republican Governor Phil Scott will be the new bill's biggest obstacle. He opposed the bill last year when he was lieutenant governor, and has raised concerns against legalization.

Rebecca Kelley, Scott's spokeswoman, said the Governor wants any marijuana legalization law to address public safety concerns, including law enforcement’s ability to test for impairment and keep roads safe.

Vermont: Governor Pardons 192 Marijuana Offenders

Peter Schumlin.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Vermont governor Peter Schumlin (D) announced pardons Tuesday for 192 people with former convictions for marijuana possession. All but 15 of those pardoned were residents of Vermont.

The state decriminalized pot in 2013, but has not yet legalized and regulated the plant as eight other states have, including Vermont's neighbors Massachusetts and Maine.

Although laws and attitudes toward marijuana have changed a lot in the past several years, few governors have issued pardons to marijuana offenders.

“What he’s [Governor Shumlin] doing is, it’s almost unimaginably safe [from criticism] if you think in terms of 40 years ago,” P.S. Ruckman, Jr., a professor of political science at Rock Valley College in Illinois, told The Christian Science Monitor in an interview. “It’s highly significant. I think it’s likely we'll see more of it.”

Gov. Shumlin’s pardon applied only to people convicted of possessing less than an ounce of pot who had no violent criminal histories, felony convictions, or record of driving under the influence or reckless driving.

“When you look at the Vermonters who are sitting out there with criminal records because they had an ounce or less of marijuana — could have happened in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s – there’s thousands of them,” he said in early December.

U.S.: 4 States Most Likely To Legalize Recreational Marijuana Next

pot flag.png

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Legalized recreational marijuana has been a big news headline ever since the Election Day, when the number of states with legal pot going from 4 to 8. Several other states are getting closer to seeing legal recreational pot legalized, with some being closer than others.

In Arizona, Proposition 205 was defeated by a margin of just 2 percent. Cannabis advocacy groups encouraged by the close defeat will focus their attention on remaining hesitant voters. They expect to see legal recreational weed passed very soon. California just passed Prop 64, but similar measures in 2010, 2012, and 2014 were defeated. Oregon voted “No” on legal cannabis in 2012, then “Yes” in 2014.

Recreational marijuana becomes officially legal in Massachusetts on December 15, 2016, allowing adults to possess as much cannabis as they can grow. Otherwise, individuals can have up to 1 ounce, including 5 grams of concentrate. Neighboring states Rhode Island and Vermont are likely to follow suit, since citizens of those states could easily cross the border to take advantage of legal pot in Massachusetts. Both states are interested in the tax revenue the legal cannabis industry generates.

Vermont: Thieves Mistaking Hemp For Pot

hemp farm.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Vermont State Police say three men stole hemp from a farm in Shaftsbury because they thought it was pot.

Troopers responded to a suspicious vehicle complaint in Shaftsbury and found Leon Lovelace, 21, Brett Stone, 24, and Cody Smith, 20, all of Hoosick Falls, New York. The three men had plants that looked like marijuana; they were cited for possession and released.

A follow-up investigation revealed that two of the men had given false names, and that the plants were in fact hemp, not pot.

Police say the hemp was stolen from a farm in Shaftsbury. They also say that farm has had a lot of plants stolen recently because people think it is marijuana.

The suspects still face charges for theft and providing false names to police.

Vermont: Bernie Sanders Slams DEA For Not Reclassifying Marijuana

Bernie.png

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Bernie Sanders responded to the Drug Enforcement Administration's decision not to reclassify marijuana on Thursday, taking to Twitter to make it clear that he was dissatisfied.

The tweet reads:

"People can argue about the pluses and minuses of marijuana, but everyone knows it's not a killer drug like heroin. https://twitter.com/USATODAY/status/763727086573920256 …"

Sanders introduced legislation last November while seeking the Democratic nomination for president that would entirely de-schedule marijuana or remove it from the Controlled Substances Act, decriminalizing it at the federal level. His legislation is modeled after a bill introduced in 2013 by Rep. Jared Polos (D-Colo.) and would allow states to decide how to regulate marijuana.

Vermont: Doctors And Researchers Think Marijuana Study Was Flawed

Vermont weed.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Researchers say a report assessing the public health risks of legalizing marijuana in Vermont is flawed.

The 84-page assessment was released during the legislative session in mid-January, according to the Burlington Free Press. The report offered policy recommendations, a summary and conclusions based on available research.

This spring a bill to legalize marijuana died in the Vermont House.

Doctors and researchers wrote to lawmakers that the scope of the report was too narrow, only focused on the negative impacts, and lacked the context of the state’s opioid crisis.

A state public health analyst who promoted the report says the assessment wasn’t intended to advocate for one side or another. Everyone involved was asked to disregard their own personal biases.

U.S.: Hemp Industry Generates Half a Billion Dollars In Sales

hemp field 3.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The hemp industry netted half a billion dollars in sales in the United States last year, despite unconstitutional federal restrictions on industrial hemp farming.

As reported in The Weed Blog:

"The Hemp Industries Association (HIA), a non-profit trade association consisting of hundreds of hemp businesses, has released final estimates of the size of the 2015 U.S. retail market for hemp products. Data from market research supports an estimate of total retail sales of hemp food, supplements and body care products in the United States at $283 million….The HIA has also reviewed sales of clothing, auto parts, building materials and various other products, and estimates the total retail value of hemp products sold in the U.S. in 2015 to be at least $573 million."

Eric Steentres, executive director of the Hemp Industries Association, says the next step is very obvious.

“We need Congress to pass federal legislation to allow commercial hemp farming nationally, for this ripe industry to finally be able to bloom,” he said.

But congressional action seems unlikely anytime soon.

It is technically "legal" to grow hemp, but farmers are required to obtain a permit from the DEA. That happened just once in four decades up until 2014. Since then some states have taken action to nullify the federal regulation.

Vermont: Lawmakers Seen Drinking In Hallway Just Before Voting No On Marijuana

VermontLawmakersDrinkingInStateHouse[NeilPGoswami].jpg

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

When the Vermont House on Tuesday soundly rejected a Senate proposal to legalize marijuana and create a regulated retail market for it -- and even failed to decriminalize possession and cultivation of just two cannabis plants -- their unfortunate lack of political courage didn't shock many political observers.

What was a bit more upsetting, though, was that at least two of the politicians who voted "No" on legalization were seen (and photographed!) drinking alcohol in the hall shortly before the vote, according to multiple sources. Photos tweeted by reporter Neil Goswami depict Rep. Gary Viens (R-Newport) and Rep. Corey Parent (R-St. Albans City) enjoying alcholic beverages at the State House during a 15-minute recess from the marijuana debate.

"Drinking in the State House is cool, according to these people who voted against legal pot," Goswami tweeted.

Both Viens and Parent are widely grinning in the photos, apparently believing themselves to be quite clever in taking a drink in the hall before batting down a bill that would have treated marijuana similarly to alcohol.

Vermont: House Kills Marijuana Legalization Bill

Vermont weed.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Vermont House rejected a marijuana legalization proposal Tuesday, killing the hopes of marijuana legalization advocates for reform after promising votes in the Senate earlier this year.

It appeared that Vermont was to become the first state to legalize marijuana through legislation, and not through a ballot vote. New England is considered to be the next frontier for marijuana policy reform, and Vermont would have led the way.

Instead the House voted 121-28 to reject the marijuana legalization bill, which was passed by the state Senate at the urging of Gov. Peter Shumlin in February. The bill would have legalized, regulated, and taxed marijuana for adults 21 and over, but would not have allowed edibles, or home cultivation.

Several members said they supported legalization but not the bill itself, especially the lack of provisions for home cultivation, which one member said was “not the Vermont way.”

Others, like state representative Christopher Pearson, said prohibition had failed, and it was time to move forward.

“Constituents want to know: Why do we sit and enjoy delicious Vermont beer and frown on cannabis use?” he asked.

TheHouse will vote later Tuesday afternoon on a compromise measure that would decriminalize marijuana possession and cultivation of up to two adult plants per household.

Wisconsin: Bernie Sanders Says Marijuana Should Not Be A Federal Crime

BernieSandersSmiles[NBCNews].jpg

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Campaigning for President in liberal Madison, Wisconsin, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) defended marijuana, saying it should not be a federal crime.

Sanders criticized the American War On Drugs, saying that millions of lives have been "ruined" because they got a police record, and sometimes prison sentences, for possessing marijuana, reports Tom Kertscher at Politifact.

"Today, under the federal Controlled Substances Act, marijuana is listed in the same Schedule I as heroin," Sanders said. "That is nuts."

"Now people can argue -- although I suspect in this audience, there may not be much of an argument -- about the pluses and minuses of marijuana," Sanders said, drawing cheers from the crowd of thousands at the Alliant Energy Center. "But everybody knows marijuana is not a killer drug like heroin."

Sanders then pointed out he's introduced legislation which would remove marijuana from the federal Controlled Substances Act -- as in DEscheduling cannabis, not REscheduling it. (Merely moving marijuana to Schedule II would effectively hand over its control to Big Pharma.)

Vermont: Governor Says Marijuana Legalization Is 'Enlightened' Thing To Do

VermontGovernorPeterShumlinWithCoatOfArms[USE-THIS-ONE].jpg

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Vermont could make history this spring. As Governor Peter Shumlin nears the end of his term in office, he wants the state to become the first in the union to legalize marijuana through its Legislature.

In an interview with Katy Steinmetz of Time Magazine, Gov. Shumlin said "I think the more enlightened states are trying to get ahead of this one" when it comes to cannabis legalization.

"There is no question America is going to move to a more sensible policy, state by state," Shumlin said.

"We’re all spending huge amounts of energy focusing on the evils of pot smoking and we hardly talk about the fact that in 2010, we sold enough drugs legally through our pharmacies in the form of Oxycontin to keep every adult American high for a month," the Governor pointed out. "That has led to death, destruction, addiction to heroin that’s affecting every state in America. And then we flip out about the possibility that we could move to a more sensible approach to marijuana."

"Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has also talked openly about using marijuana," Steinmetz asked Gov. Shumlin. "Have you ever tried it?" "Yes," Shumlin replied. "I was in Vermont in the '70s... We inhaled."

"I'm hoping that Vermont will be the first state that does it legislatively because we have learned from the states that have made mistakes doing it by referendum," Gov. Shumlin said. "We are trying to pass the first cautious, sensible marijuana legalizing bill in the country."

Syndicate content