Vermont governor vetoes marijuana bill, wants changes made

Posted May 25, 2017

Being Governor means that I will have to make tough decisions, and this bill is not an exception.

Earlier this month, lawmakers in Vermont became the first legislative body in the approve a recreational marijuana measure. I'm saying it's the timing's not right.

"I was frankly a little surprised that he left the door open to finding a remedy", said Sen.

"We are disappointed by the governor's decision to veto this widely supported legislation, but we are very encouraged by the governor's offer to work with legislators to pass a legalization bill during the summer veto session", said Matt Simon, spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project. But he said that lawmakers had not managed to address certain public safety issues in their legislation.

In a letter written to Secretary of State Kenneth Detzner, Governor Scott says he has repealed almost 5,000 regulations to reduce unnecessary burdens on Floridians, and has aimed to eliminate regulations that impose needless requirements on businesses.

Democratic House Speaker Mitzi Johnson issued a statement following the governor's veto that says in part: "We know that prohibition does not work". In Sabet's view, the bill was a "gateway" to the commercialization of marijuana in Vermont.

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When asked by reporters whether he had ever smoked pot, the governor said no, but he added, "I have friends who do". "I was a small business owner, and many locally owned businesses have told me how this bill will impact their families and their ability to create jobs".

The state has the highest marijuana use in the country and second-highest when it comes to people aged 12 to 25. And I think that the legislature was clear.

Astonishingly, he does not want to "weaken" penalties for distribution to minors and at the same time stiffen penalties for cannabis DUII and adults using cannabis around minors.

Scott said he wanted to see tougher penalties for illegal sales of marijuana to minors.

Bennington County Sen. Dick Sears is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and one of the strongest advocates for legal weed in the Vermont Statehouse. But, if an adult is smoking with a child in the auto, there is only a small fine equal to the penalty for an adult having an open container of alcohol. We must acknowledge that marijuana is not alcohol and it is not tobacco - how we protect children from the new classification of the substance is incredibly important. He suggested those might include criminalizing smoking marijuana in vehicles occupied by children.

Third, the Marijuana Regulatory Commission section must be enhanced in order to be taken seriously.

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He also wants the commission to be charged with determining outcomes such as impairment thresholds for operating motor vehicles.

That's because GOP legislators crafted the 300-page bill largely in secret, and included in it portions that would steer more state and local money to privately-run charter schools.

The third change he would like, he said, is the expansion of the bill's proposed commission to develop a tax-and-regulate proposal. I don't think we have enough information at this point. I was supportive of decriminalization. Prohibition has failed and causes approximately 100,000 Vermonters to be labeled lawbreakers.

The bill was approved 21-17 by the Senate but passed by just one vote in the House.

Scott filed his veto letter of the measure (SB 106) on Wednesday night, his deadline to act on the bill.

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