Vermont: Governor, Former AG Back Marijuana Legalization Effort

Montpelier, VT: Democrat Gov. Peter Shumlin and former state Attorney General Kimberly Cheney are publicly backing legislative efforts to regulate the adult use and retail sale of marijuana.

Speaking at his State of the State address last week, Gov. Shumlin said that he intends to work with lawmakers this session to enact legislation to regulate the use of marijuana by adults. “The outdated war on drugs has failed and there is no greater example [of this failure] than our nation’s marijuana laws,” he acknowledged. “That’s why I will work with you to craft the right bill that thoughtfully and carefully eliminates the era of prohibition that is currently failing us so miserably.”

Former state Attorney General Kimberly Cheney endorsed the Governor’s vision at a separate news conference, stating: “I am committed to bringing awareness to the failures of marijuana prohibition and working toward a safer Vermont. … In a tightly regulated system, marijuana will be tested, labeled, and properly packaged. It will be sold by licensed businesses that ask for ID, sell only to adults, and do not expose consumers to other more harmful substances. Plus, law enforcement will be able to spend more time addressing serious crimes instead of enforcing failed prohibition laws.”

A pair of measures seeking to regulate and tax the production and retail sale of cannabis are pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

If enacted, Vermont would become the first state to pass legislation to regulate the adult use of cannabis. Similar laws in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington were all enacted by the passage of voter initiatives.

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