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The following is a letter sent by Will Read, co-founder of CannaPlanners, to Governor Scott’s office on May 16, 2017, following up the Governor’s form letter response earlier that day.

Dear Gov –

Thank you for your response, it gives me hope to hear you; the fact that this dialogue is even possible is awesome.  I’ll keep this brief in regards to the concerns you listed:

1.  Detecting impairment: The procedures to detect impairment behind the wheel already exist and are widely practiced. Any roadside/DUI test will dutifully result in a officer being able to make a decision as to the driver’s impairment. The answer is to continue supporting state and local police in doing their jobs. If you’re looking for a device to test specifically for cannabis impairment, such a thing does not exist. Furthermore, the science behind DUI testing specifically for cannabis is full of holes. Things like time of consumption, personal metabolism, and so on, make testing and establishing a baseline for a cannabis DUI quite difficult. 

2.  Substance abuse education: This also already exists. Prevention programs are included in public health and school budgets every year. While S.22 won’t really help you here, a future marketplace could increase tax dollars to further these education services. As a Republican, I know that you strongly believe in less government – and in this case it is something I would side with you on; While there is a huge dependency on educating children through school, etc – I believe it is up to the parents to be engaged with their kids.  

3.  Keeping the children safe:  This is a classic tent-pole within anti-legalization efforts, however you and I both know that a regulated system with checks and balances will have a huge impact on the black market and accessibility to illicit drugs by minors. The safety of children is also a tent-pole of the pro movement; If there is a marketplace where someone needs to physically check an ID before a sale is made, then accessibility is limited to those meeting age requirements. Simple. Again, S.22 doesn’t allow for these provisions, BUT it is the step in the right direction to get to a legal marketplace. As I said in #2, I also believe the responsibility ultimately lies on parents being good parents.  

4.  The current state of Vermont: Well, this is a bit anecdotal and I can’t point to anything specific, other than this great Newsweek article HERE. We live in a prescription-heavy world these days. Doctors have been lobbied to for years by the pharma industry to over-prescribe the pills that our community members are all now addicted to. In states with a more robust medical marijuana program, and in states with adult-use there has been a huge drop in opiate dependency and death. 

This is huge for us, Governor Scott. I, personally, knew four people that died in 2016 as a result of drug addiction – and I’m only one of thousands of Vermonters affected by this.

The war on drugs has failed, and now the party that you represent is looking to roll back to Reagan-era enforcement tactics. They want to fill the prisons with non-violent drug offenders, and some of those people are going to be Vermonters. I guess my biggest question is, are you going to help them do that, or will you continue the Vermont tradition of taking progressive positions on social issues?

Thank you for your time. 

William Read

 

  • Denise Valenti

    Thank you for your level headed comments. The legal adult use of marijuana is an individual choice. But such freedoms still require careful protection of the public. This means no access for children and no driving. All use of a substance that alters performance requires a decision NOT to drive.

    The data on marijuana impairment is sparse and often inconsistent. More and better studies need to be done. The state of Washington recognized this and worked with private agencies to survey the crash and fatality rates They separate out alcohol, psychoactive THC and inactive THC. What is clear is that the fatality rate specific to cannabis, both active and inactive forms of THC–has increased. Another chilling statistic: Those testing positive for marijuana alone, not alcohol or other drugs, are FIVE TIMES more likely to kill someone other than themselves compared to a driver testing positive for alcohol. In general, those that are drunk usually kill themselves, those that are stoned kill others.

    Until there are tests of function to correlate with a biologic such as blood or saliva, the best line of defense are those professional law enforcement officers trained in drug impaired detection such as RIDE or DRE. Again, data is muddy, but the state of Oregon did not have the dramatic increase in marijuana specific road fatalities. They also have the highest ratio of DRE trained officers per population…in the nation. Perhaps all should study what Oregon did right. Programs such as DRE and ARIDE are certainly effective tools for law enforcement.

    Tests of function are desperately needed so as to obtain convictions and remove these dangerous drivers from the road.

    IMMAD – Impairment Measurement Marijuana and driving is a simple app for a tablet that objectively measures functional impairment. It measures the visual field deficits (HUGE BLIND SPOTS or TUNNEL VISION) that occurs with marijuana use. Marijuana has been shown to significantly impair the eye retinal ganglion cells. IMMAD – Impairment Measurement Marijuana and Driving, measures this. IMMAD and other tests of function need to be further developed and studied so as to have better tools for law enforcement to use in dealing with marijuana impaired driving.

  • jontomas

    From the article:

    >>>”a regulated system with checks and balances will have a huge impact on the black market and accessibility to illicit drugs by minors.”

    Right. – In other words, legalization PROTECTS children because then there will only be legal, licensed vendors that don’t sell to minors.

    There is another huge way re-legalization protects children. – Science and widespread experience have shown marijuana is not addictive and is far less harmful than alcohol. – Yet, more than 600,000 innocent Americans are arrested for simple marijuana possession each year and made second-class citizens – for life! They will forever face large obstacles to decent employment, education, travel, housing, government benefits, and will always go into court with one strike against them. They can even have their children taken away! – Research has shown that even “dysfunctional” families are healthier for children than foster homes, and that children who live in them are FIVE times more likely to suffer abuse.

    25 million Americans are now locked away in this very un-American sub-class because of this bogus “criminal” record. That has a horrible effect on the whole country, being a massive waste of human potential.

    The fraudulent marijuana prohibition has never accomplished one positive thing. It has only caused vast amounts of crime, corruption, violence, death and the severe diminishing of everyone’s freedom.

    There is no more important domestic issue than ending what is essentially the American Inquisition.

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