Vermont

U.S.: Researcher Forecasts Next 5 States Likely To Legalize Marijuana

5StatesWhereRecreationalMarijuanaCouldSoonBeLegal(BarneyWarf-UniversityOfKansas)

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

With laws taking effect last week legalizing recreational marijuana in both Alaska and Washington, D.C., a researcher into the history of cannabis has predicted the next five U.S. states where voters will likely approve the use of pot for relaxation and enjoyment.

University of Kansas geography professor Barney Warf, author of "High Points: An Historical History of Cannabis," published in the peer-reviewed Geographical Review in September 2014, said legalization can be "hard to predict," but he made his forecast of the next states expected to legalize, "based on current laws and voter leanings."

"All five of these states have legal medical marijuana and tend to be liberal or libertarian in voting patterns," Warf said.

The Next Five States Where Recreational Marijuana Could Be Legal

1. California: "Recreational cannabis almost was legalized in the past, and California voters are sure to do so in 2016," Warf said.

2. Nevada:: "Nevada shares the libertarian sentiments of Alaska."

3. Vermont: "There's a strong liberal tradition there in Vermont."

4. Illinois: "The Land of Lincoln is surprisingly progressive on this issue."

5. New York:: "New York legalized medical marijuana last year."

Vermont: House Bill Introduced To Regulate And Tax Marijuana Like Alcohol

ChrisPearson(VTHouse)

H. 277 mirrors the Senate bill, introduced last week, to establish a legal market for licensed businesses to sell marijuana to adults 21 and older

State Rep. Chris Pearson (P-Burlington) on Tuesday introduced a bill that would regulate and tax marijuana like alcohol in Vermont. Nine co-sponsors have signed on to H. 277, which mirrors S. 95, the Senate bill introduced last week by Sen. David Zuckerman (P-Chittenden).

“There is a lot of support among legislators and the public for ending marijuana prohibition in Vermont,” said Matt Simon, New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), which is part of the Vermont Coalition to Regulate Marijuana. “It is never too soon to replace a failed, antiquated policy with a more sensible, evidence-based approach.

"If it’s the right thing to do, the right time to do it is now,” Simon said.

H. 277 and S. 95 would allow adults 21 years of age and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana; grow up to two flowering marijuana plants and seven non-flowering plants in a secure indoor location; and possess the marijuana yielded from those plants at the same location. It would remain illegal to consume marijuana in public or drive while impaired by marijuana.

Vermont: Bill Introduced To Legalize, Regulate, Tax Marijuana Like Alcohol

VermontCoalitionToRegulateMarijuana

Sen. David Zuckerman (P-Hinesburg) introduced a bill Tuesday night that would regulate and tax marijuana like alcohol in Vermont.

“Marijuana prohibition has worn out its welcome in Vermont,” said Matt Simon, New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), which is part of the Vermont Coalition to Regulate Marijuana. “This is an opportunity for state lawmakers to demonstrate leadership on this issue and set an example for other states to follow in coming years.

"It’s not often that legislators have the chance to improve public safety, bolster the economy, and enhance personal liberties all in one piece of legislation,” Simon said.

The bill, S. 95, would allow adults 21 years of age and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana. They could grow up to two flowering marijuana plants and seven non-flowering plants in a secure indoor location, and they would also be allowed to possess the marijuana grown from those plants at the same location.

It would remain illegal to consume marijuana in public or drive while impaired by marijuana.

The Department of Public Safety would be directed to license and regulate marijuana retail stores, lounges, cultivation facilities, product manufacturing facilities, and testing laboratories. Localities would have the ability to regulate or prohibit marijuana businesses within their borders.

U.S.: Study Says Florida Is Worst State For Marijuana Smokers

FloridaWelcomeToTheWorstState

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

An informal study by has shown Florida is the worst state in the Union for marijuana smokers.

Reporter Evan Anderson became curious about cannabis citations around the United States after reading a MuckRock piece by Beryl Anderson on citation data from California marijuana arrests after decriminalization. Copying the language used by MuckRock user Dave Maass to get California's numbers, Anderson requested the same data from Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, Texas, Vermont and Washington. Data from Washington and Colorado, both of which have legalized pot, were unavailable at the time of the requests, and the Massachusetts Department of Criminal Justice never acknowledged his request.

The number of marijuana citations given in Florida "blows the rest of the states out or the water," Anderson reports in MuckRock.

Part of that is due to the unfortunate fact that possession of more than 20 grams of cannabis in Florida is a felony with a maximum punishment of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

Vermont: New Report Outlines Options Regarding Marijuana Legalization

VermontMarijuanaGrowersAssociation

Legalizing recreational marijuana production, distribution and possession in Vermont could generate significant tax revenues, but also involves costs and important decisions about how best to regulate the substance, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

The report makes clear that if Vermont chooses to remove its prohibition on producing and selling marijuana, lawmakers will have many choices to make about who will supply it, who can buy it, if and how it will be taxed, and how it will be regulated.

The report does not make a recommendation about whether Vermont should change its marijuana laws. Researchers say the goal of the report is to inform, not sway, discussions about the future of marijuana policy in Vermont and other jurisdictions considering alternatives to traditional marijuana prohibition.

The RAND report provides the most-detailed accounting available about the wide number of issues that face state officials -- in Vermont and elsewhere -- when considering alternatives to traditional marijuana prohibition.

“Our conversation about whether to legalize marijuana must be rooted in facts and be transparent about the uncertainties,” said Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin. “This RAND report will serve as a critical foundation for our ongoing discussion about the best course for Vermont.

"I continue to support moves to legalize marijuana in Vermont but have always said that we have to proceed with rigorous research and preparation before deciding whether to act," Shumlin said. "This report will help us do that.”

Vermont: Public Hearing On Marijuana Legalization Scheduled For Wednesday

I(PotLeaf)VT

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A public hearing on the legalization of marijuana in Vermont is scheduled for Wednesday. The hearing will be held statewide via Vermont Interactive Television.

Earlier this year, the Vermont Legislature ordered the administration to study marijuana legalization, with a report due in January, reports the Associated Press.

The state contracted with the RAND Drug Policy Research Center to study the production, distribution, and possession of cannabis.

Wednesday's hearing will be held by Secretary of Administration Jeb Spaulding and Beau Kilmer, who co-directs the RAND Drug Policy Research Center.

Spaulding and Kilmer will make brief presentations, after which people attending the meeting will be allowed to ask questions and make comments.

U.S.: Sixth Annual Hemp History Week Set For June 1-7, 2015

HempHistoryWeek2015

The Hemp Industries Association (HIA) and Vote Hemp have announced that the sixth annual Hemp History Week will be held June 1-7, 2015. Surging with momentum following a monumental year in 2014, wherein hemp was both legally cultivated and harvested in Kentucky, Colorado and Vermont, this year's campaign will focus on the increased acreage of hemp on U.S. farms with the theme Sow the Seed.

Throughout all 50 states, more than 1,100 grassroots events will bring documentary film screenings, cooking demonstrations, retail promotions, educational outreach, spring plantings and hemp home building courses to the public, catalyzing movement on the issue of hemp legalization nationwide.

To learn more about Hemp History Week, visit: www.HempHistoryWeek.com.

Spring Hemp Plantings

HIA and Vote Hemp will work with farmers in states that have legalized the cultivation of hemp, to coordinate events this spring to celebrate the planting of hemp crops. The events will be open to both community and media attendance.

An environmentally sustainable crop, hemp helps restore nutrients to soil via phytoremediation, and does not require chemical inputs of pesticides and herbicides to flourish. As farmers open their hemp fields to the public, grassroots activists will offer educational events about industrial hemp—its history, agronomy, health and ecological benefits—as we join together to sow the seed.

The Health Benefits of Hemp

Vermont: RAND Corporation To Study Issues Around Marijuana Legalization

VermontTheGreenMountainState

Could the Green Mountain State become the Green Marijuana State? Researchers from the RAND Corporation will study the issues related to potentially legalizing the production, distribution and possession of marijuana in Vermont, officials said on Wednesday.

In May 2014, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin signed a bill that requires the state secretary of administration to report to the General Assembly regarding the taxation and regulation of recreational marijuana in Vermont. A May poll from the Castleton Polling Institute found 57 percent of Vermonters favor cannabis legalization, reports the Marijuana Policy Project.

“We are pleased to help the state of Vermont think through the potential consequences associated with alternative marijuana policies,” said Beau Kilmer, project leader and co-director of the RAND Drug Policy Research Center.

Kilmer met with state Secretary of Administration Jeb Spaulding and other Vermont officials this week to discuss the study.

The law calls for the report to analyze the possible taxing systems for the sale of marijuana in Vermont, including sales taxes, use taxes and excise taxes, as well as the potential revenue each may raise. In addition, the study will examine any savings or costs to the state that would result from regulating marijuana and the experiences of other states with regulating and taxing marijuana. Issues surrounding public health and public safety also will be addressed.

Vermont: New Poll Shows Strong Majority Support For Marijuana Legalization

Vermont-SupportForChangingVermont'sMarijuanaLaws

Castleton Polling Institute survey finds 57% support — and only 34% oppose — such a proposal, which will be the subject of a study approved by the Vermont Legislature in April

A strong majority of Vermonters support making marijuana legal for adults, taxing it, and regulating it similarly to alcohol, according to a Castleton Polling Institute survey released on Wednesday.

Such a change in state law would be supported by 57 percent of respondents. Only 34 percent said they are opposed.

“People are fed up with marijuana prohibition,” said Matt Simon, New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Marijuana is an objectively less harmful substance than alcohol, and this poll shows most Vermonters want it to be treated that way.”

The Vermont Legislature in April approved a bill that includes an amendment initiating a study to evaluate the potential impact of making marijuana legal for adults and regulating it similarly to alcohol. Gov. Shumlin is expected to sign it into law.

“Just about anyone who reviews the evidence objectively will arrive at the conclusion that prohibition has failed, and it’s time for a more sensible approach,” Simon said. “Regulating marijuana like alcohol would replace the underground market with licensed, tax-paying businesses.

"There is a reason why we don't see copious amounts of alcohol being illegally produced and trafficked around Vermont — because it's regulated,” Simon said.

Vermont To Study Marijuana Legalization

I(PotLeaf)VT

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin's administration is getting ready to study the fiscal and other impacts of marijuana legalization; the task was assigned by the Vermont Legislature.

Gov. Shumlin said he agreed with lawmakers that "it's timely to do a study," said Administration Secretary Jeb Spaulding, reports Dave Gram at the Burlington Free Press,/i>. Spaulding's agency is tasked to report its findings to the Legislature by January 15, 2015.

"We're not going to prejudge what our position would be at the end of it," Spaulding said.

An amendment to a bill whose main purpose was removing a cap on the number of patients who can get medical marijuana in Vermont is responsible for the study. It called for a study of "possible taxing systems" for marijuana, any savings or costs connected with legalizing, regulating and taxing it, the experiences of Colorado and Washington in legalizing cannabis.

Spaulding admitted the Shumlin Administration hadn't yet figured out how to do the study, but then it's been less than a week since the Legislature adjourned. "I know that we're going to take it seriously and we'll probably do a pretty thorough study," he said.

Gov. Shumlin has repeatedly said he wants to see what happens in Washington and Colorado before moving ahead with legalization for Vermont. Spaulding cautioned that the January 2015 deadline for the report may be too soon to answer than question.

Vermont: Senate Approves Marijuana Dispensary Improvement Bill; Measure Going To Governor's Desk

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S. 247 will expand access to medical marijuana for qualified patients and initiate a study on the potential impact of making marijuana legal for adults and regulating it similarly to alcohol

The Vermont Senate on Wednesday gave final approval to a bill that will expand access to medical marijuana for qualified patients. It will now be sent to Gov. Peter Shumlin, who has expressed support for the measure.

S. 247, sponsored by Sen. Jeanette White (D-Windham), will eliminate the cap on the number of patients who are allowed to access medical marijuana dispensaries. Currently, only 1,000 total patients in the state are able to access dispensaries.

The measure will also increase possession limits for dispensaries, allow them to deliver medical marijuana to patients, and permit naturopaths to certify patients for the program. The bill was amended by the House to initiate two studies: one to explore the possibility of adding post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a qualifying condition for the state's medical marijuana program, and one to evaluate the potential impact of making marijuana legal for adults and regulating it similarly to alcohol.

"The House and Senate should be commended for taking action to ensure seriously ill Vermonters have legal access to medical marijuana," said Matt Simon, New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP).

Vermont: New Hampshire Marijuana Legalization Vote Could Prompt Rest of New England

VermontMapMarijuanaState

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Does the domino theory apply here? Political observers believe that last week's marijuana legalization vote in the New Hampshire House of Representatives could help prompt states across New England to adopt more liberal cannabis policies.

The legalization bill in the New Hampshire Legislature enjoys popular support, reports Watchdog.org. "Polls show 60 percent of voters in the state support, and we won't rest until that includes a majority of their state legislators," said legislative analyst Matt Simon of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) last week.

If the bill makes it out of committee and through a final vote and is then signed by Gov. Maggie Hassan (who hasn't sounded very encouraging so far), it would make New Hampshire the first state in New England to legalize, joining the 420-friendly town of Portland, Maine. Portland voted as a city on Election Day 2013 to legalize marijuana.

"The legalization of marijuana is moving fast in parts of the United States, and it looks as though the domino effect could quickly move to other states such as Vermont," said former Rhode Island U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy, who heads an anti-cannabis group called Project Smart Approaches to Marijuana (Project SAM), supposedly "dedicated to a health-first approach to marijuana policy" but in reality dedicated to the promulgation of Reefer Madness disinformation.

Vermont: Marijuana Legalization Bill Introduced In Legislature

VermontSenatorDavidZuckerman

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Vermont State Senator David Zuckerman has introduced a bill to legalize, tax and regulate the production, sale and recreational use of marijuana in the state.

Zuckerman himself doesn't expect the bill to pass this year, reports Morgan True at VT Digger. "I think this is a building year, more than a likely passage year," he said.

Last year the Vermont Legislature decriminalized the possession of small amounts of cannabis. The bill, which took effect in July, replaced criminal penalties for marijuana possession with a civil fine, similar to a traffic ticket, for up to one ounce.

While Gov. Peter Shumlin has said marijuana legalization is "not a priority" this year, he is "closely watching" the regulation and taxation of cannabis in Colorado and Washington, according to spokesman Scott Coriell.

Matt Simon with the Marijuana Policy Project said MPP will spend 2014 trying to build a consensus about the path to legalization.

"We want to pass (tax-and-regulate) in 2015, and I don't see any reason why Vermont wouldn't be one of the first states to do this through the Legislature," Simon said.

Vermont: Marijuana Decriminalization Takes Effect Monday, July 1

I(PotLeaf)VT

Criminal penalties for simple marijuana possession will be replaced with a civil fine similar to a traffic ticket

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Legislation adopted this year to remove criminal penalties for marijuana possession will go into effect on Monday. Vermont is the 17th state in the nation to decriminalize or legalize marijuana possession.

“This is a much-needed step forward toward a more sensible marijuana policy,” said Matt Simon, legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project, which lobbied in support of the legislation. “Nobody should be subjected to life-altering criminal penalties simply for possessing a substance that is objectively less harmful than alcohol.”

H. 200, introduced by Rep. Christopher Pearson (P-Burlington) with a tripartisan group of 38 co-sponsors, removes criminal penalties for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and replaces them with a civil fine, similar to a traffic ticket. Those under age 21 will be required to undergo substance abuse screening. State Attorney General William Sorrell and Public Safety Commissioner Keith Flynn testified in support of the measure, which was signed into law by Gov. Peter Shumlin on June 6.

“There is still work to be done and support is growing for more comprehensive marijuana policy reform,” Simon said. “Until marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol, sales will remain uncontrolled and profits will benefit illegal actors instead of legitimate, taxpaying businesses.

Vermont: First Two Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Open; Third One Planned

MedicalMarijuanaJarVermont

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Medical marijuana patients in Vermont, for the first time, can buy cannabis without breaking the law.

State-licensed medicinal cannabis facility Champlain Valley Dispensary officially opened for business in Burlington on Monday, just a few days after Vermont Patients Alliance opened in Montpelier, reports Sam Hemingway at the Burlington Free Press.

Both dispensaries are open three days a week. A third shop is planned for Brandon. The medical marijuana outlets arrive two years after the Vermont Legislature passed a law allowing their existence, and nine months after the two businesses were licensed by the state.

Proprietor Shane Lynn of Champlain Valley Dispensary said he'd hoped to open sooner, but hurdles including a requirement that he and his employees undergo FBI background checks took longer than expected.

"The state asked the FBI to do a background check, but the FBI couldn't do one for some reason," Lynn said. "They needed a code for it. So that took three or four weeks to determine what code to use. There were a bunch of unknowns for both the state and us."

Each dispensary is required to grow its own marijuana in a secure environment. Patients need proof from the state that they are authorized to buy cannabis, then they make an appointment with the dispensary before showing up, or they won't be allowed inside.

Vermont: Governor Signs Marijuana Decriminalization Bill Into Law

VermontGovPeterShumlin

Proposal backed by tripartisan group of legislators and state's top law enforcement officials will replace criminal penalties for simple marijuana possession with a civil fine similar to a traffic ticket

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Gov. Peter Shumlin signed a bill into law Thursday that decriminalizes possession of limited amounts of marijuana in Vermont, making it the 17th state in the nation to decriminalize or legalize marijuana. The signing took place during the governor’s remarks at the Statewide Criminal & Juvenile Justice Training Conference.

Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell and Public Safety Commissioner Keith Flynn testified in favor of the bill, which was approved in the Senate (24-6) on May 7 and in the House (98-44) on April 12. Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of Vermont voters support such a proposal, according to a survey conducted by Public Policy Polling in February 2012.

“We applaud Gov. Shumlin, the state’s top law enforcement officials, and the legislature for their leadership and support of this important legislation,” said Matt Simon, a legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), which lobbied in support of the bill. “Decriminalizing marijuana possession will allow law enforcement officials to spend more time and attention addressing serious crimes and prevent people from being branded as criminals just for using a substance that most Americans agree should be legal.

Vermont: Legislature Approves Marijuana Decriminalization Measure

There is a truth that must be heard!Governor Peter Shumlin Expected To Sign Bill Into Law

Proposal backed by tripartisan group of legislators and state's top law enforcement officials will replace criminal penalties for simple marijuana possession with a civil fine similar to a traffic ticket

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

State lawmakers gave final approval Monday to a measure that will decriminalize possession of limited amounts of marijuana in Vermont. The bill will now go to Gov. Peter Shumlin, who is expected to sign it into law in coming weeks, at which time Vermont will become the 17th state in the nation to decriminalize or legalize marijuana.

“We applaud the Vermont Legislature for adopting this much-needed legislation and setting an example for other states in the region and around the country,” said Matt Simon, a legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). “The exceptionally broad support demonstrated for this measure reflects the progress our nation is making toward adopting a new and more sensible approach to marijuana policy.

“The days of criminalizing people simply for using a substance less harmful than alcohol are coming to an end,” Simon said.

Vermont: Senate Committee Approves Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

There is a truth that must be heard!Proposal supported by state's top law enforcement officials would replace criminal penalties for simple marijuana possession with a civil fine similar to a traffic ticket

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Vermont Senate Committee on Judiciary approved a bill 4-1 on Wednesday that would decriminalize possession of limited amounts of marijuana. It will now be considered by the full Senate. The House of Representatives gave final approval to the bill on April 16.

Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell and Public Safety Commissioner Keith Flynn testified in favor of the bill, and Gov. Peter Shumlin has also expressed support for such a proposal.

"Vermont is another step closer to a more sensible marijuana policy, and the change cannot come soon enough,” said Matt Simon, a legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). “People should not be branded as criminals simply for using a substance that is objectively less harmful than alcohol, and there are certainly more serious crimes for law enforcement officials to address.

“I hope the Senate will join their colleagues in the House, the state’s top law enforcement officials, and the people of Vermont in supporting this common sense legislation,” Simon said.

Vermont: House of Representatives Approves Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

There is a truth that must be heard!

Proposal supported by state's top law enforcement officials would replace criminal penalties for simple marijuana possession with a civil fine similar to a traffic ticket

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Vermont House of Representatives on Friday approved a bill 98-44 that would decriminalize possession of limited amounts of marijuana. The bill is scheduled for another House vote next week before moving forward to the Senate.

Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell and Public Safety Commissioner Keith Flynn testified in favor of the bill, and Gov. Peter Shumlin has also expressed support for such a proposal.

"Vermont is another step closer to adopting a more sensible approach to marijuana policy," said Matt Simon, a legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). "The support demonstrated by members of the House reflects that of the state's top law enforcement officials and the voters."

H. 200, introduced by Rep. Christopher Pearson (P-Burlington) with a tripartisan group of 38 co-sponsors, would remove criminal penalties for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and replace them with a civil fine, similar to a traffic ticket. Those under age 21 who are caught with marijuana would be required to undergo substance abuse screening.

Vermont: House Committee Approves Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

(Illustration: The Daily Chronic)Proposal supported by state's top law enforcement officials would replace criminal penalties for simple marijuana possession with a civil fine similar to a traffic ticket

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Vermont House Committee on Judiciary approved on a 9-2 vote Wednesday a bill that would decriminalize possession of limited amounts of marijuana. The full House is expected to vote on the measure on Friday.

Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell and Public Safety Commissioner Keith Flynn testified in favor of the bill, and Governor Pete Shumlin has also expressed support for such a proposal.

"The people of Vermont and the state's top law enforcement officials agree that it is time to adopt a more sensible approach to marijuana policy," said Matt Simon, a legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). "Police and prosecutors have more important things to worry about than arresting and prosecuting adults simply for possessing a substance that is objectively less harmful than alcohol."

H. 200, introduced by Rep. Christopher Pearson (B-Burlington), with a tri-partisan group of 38 cosponsors, would remove criminal penalties for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and replace them with a civil fine, similar to a traffic ticket. Those under age 21 would be required to perform community service and to attend a drug awareness and safety program.

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