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VT Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Press Conference ft. Lt. Governor David Zuckerman, Rep. Sam Young (D-Glover), Matt Simon, MPP; Laura Subin, Vermont Coalition to Regulate Marijuana – image via Eli Harrington, Heady Vermont 2017

(Montpelier, VT) – Through the first few weeks of the 2017 political season, cannabis questions in Vermont have thus far been trumped by the political transition process in state government, and historic responses to the new era of national politics. With the transition mostly complete, the legislature has taken preliminary steps towards tackling major medical marijuana reforms via S.16, but larger questions about legalization and regulation questions have yet to turn into real legislation.

Read: “House Bill Proposes to Lower BAC Limit to .05 for Drivers With ‘Any Detectable Amount’ of THC” – Heady Vermont – January 13, 2017 

As of Wednesday, drugged driving legislation had been introduced (H.24, ‘An Act Related to Drugged Driving’, currently in Transportation), but no House committee had yet produced either a bill for legalizing homegrown cultivation and personal possession, and/or creating a taxed and regulated system for selling cannabis to the entire adult population.

Maneuvers have been happening behind the scenes and in the hallways of the Vermont State House, but the Vermont Coalition to Regulate Marijuana’s lightly-attended press conference on Wednesday provided more insight into the strategy for passing cannabis reforms through the House and Senate via an incremental, but focused approach.

While the legislation has yet to be revealed publicly, the press conference and conversations with various lawmakers and #sources confirmed that a legalization bill will be forthcoming, likely from the House Judiciary Committee–advocates and insiders expect that bill to take decriminalization a step further and allow for legalization of personal possession, as well as legal home cultivation. 

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Importantly, the questions regarding a taxed and regulated system will be addressed in separate legislation, meaning that lawmakers and their constituents will be able to support legalization and homegrow, even if they don’t support the legal sale of cannabis to all adults via a commercial ‘recreational’ system.

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Full press conference audio and details: Vermontijuana Podcast Ep. 08 – Vermont Pot Politics: Sparking the 2017 Legislative Session

Episode 8 is the kick off party for the 2017 political sesh where medical reforms, legalization (including homegrow), tax/regulate, and drugged driving are all issues that will be passed around the state house as the post-inauguration dust settles and the 2017 session really gets underway.

At 16:00, listen to the full audio from the Vermont Coalition to Regulate Marijuana press conference, held at the Vermont State House on Wednesday, January 25, 2017. The press conference included Lieutenant Governor David Zuckerman, Representative Sam Young (D-Glover), Representative Barbara Rachelson (D-Burlington)Staff Attorney Jay Diaz of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Vermont,

ACLU of Vermont – www.acluvt.org

and former Representative Suzi Wizowaty on behalf of Vermonters for Criminal Justice Reform, as well as additional members of the Coalition.

At 26:45, hear the introduction to the interview with ACLU of Vermont Staff Attorney Jay Diaz and their opposition to bills like H.24 that would open the door to saliva testing and in their opinion, infringe upon the rights of Vermonters.

“Saliva testing is junk science, you can’t get the information about someone being under the influence of any drug for that matter by testing their saliva, you can only understand whether there are drugs in your system–it could be your prescription, it could be marijuana that was ingested a week ago, but no officer will know. They want it to be implicit like a breathalyzer, but it doesn’t work like a breathalyzer.”

Finally, at 33:40, we speak to Matthew Tolley, Grassroots Coordinator at the Vermont Coalition to Regulate Marijuana. We discussed the power of dank memes, the most common cannabis conversations with Vermonters, and how to get involved with the coalition.

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