Vermont: Governor Says Marijuana Legalization Is 'Enlightened' Thing To Do
By Steve Elliott
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."
"What I meant by that is: No edibles," Shumlin said. (That's actually quite unfortunate, Governor, since edibles are one of the best and healthiest ways to use cannabis.)
"On edibles, do you believe they should never be legal or just not be legal until problems with them have been better addressed?" Shumlin was asked.
"I’m just saying: go slow, be cautious, let’s go about this very carefully," the Governor replied. "I’m not saying never. I’m just saying let the other states that are wrestling with edibles continue to wrestle with it. When you ask [Colorado] Gov. Hickenlooper, ‘What are some of the problems you’re having?’ The first words out of his mouth are ‘Don’t do edibles.”
"And you can only have a small amount of marijuana at one time, an ounce or less," Shumlin said. "Tax rates that are low enough to drive out the black market drug dealers. No smoking lounges. In other words, avoiding the pitfalls and embracing a more logical policy."
Photo: Gov. Peter Shumlin