As S.241 remains in the House Judiciary Committee, from where it is unlikely to be voted until next week, Senator Jeanette White (D-Windham), one of the sponsors of this bill, wrote a comprehensive letter to the Windham County Commons. In the full letter, featured she addresses the point by point complaints from people on all sides, including her Windham County constituents who support cannabis reform but complain about lack of home grow and criminal punishments for those caught cultivating their own cannabis.
The bill now goes to the House. Members there are talking about it going to five committees, so it sounds as if they are looking to defeat it without having a vote.
In the Senate, it officially went to three committees, and five more suggested changes. The chairs of three of those opposed the bill but chose not to let it die in their committees.
I hope the House will do the same and not let it just die because each committee feels the need to officially “take the bill.” If it makes it out of the House, there will be a conference committee, and then it moves on to the governor.
My belief is that this bill will limit access for youth (and make it safer for those who do try it). It will undercut the black market, it will not create criminals out of citizens who use it, and it will lead to more rational drug laws.
The bill is not ideal, but it is a huge leap in the right direction. And I believe it is the right thing to do. We can make changes.
But without it, we remain where we are.
JEANETTE WHITE (D-Putney) serves as one of Windham County’s two state senators in the Vermont legislature. Originally published in The Commons #349 on Wednesday, March 23, 2016 via commonsnews.org.