Letter to Legislators: Advance H.170 Criminal Justice Reforms Now
Dear Senators and Representatives,
As a constituent who supports common sense, incremental cannabis reform, we are writing to you today to respectfully ask you to take the procedural steps necessary to advance the criminal justice reforms from the House-passed version of H.170 AND to continue the work in the House with the goal of passing a regulation bill next year.
To be clear, a taxed and regulated system similar to that of neighboring states is absolutely the end goal, but there’s no good reason to maintain the status quo system of criminalized cannabis in the meantime.
With the yoke of criminal and civil threats removed, we will be removing the stigma and fear that’s unfairly associated with responsible use of cannabis. Only then can we actually start to convert the illicit market into the regulated one that the majority of Vermonters prefer.
From a political standpoint, until the hurdle of legalization is cleared and ‘reefer madness’ fears are proven unfounded, the public and private discourse will remain limited to the ‘if’ rather than the more productive ‘how’ questions.
By continuing to discuss how to implement regulation after passing the provisions of H.170, there can be an inclusive and transparent process that builds on the considerable progress made in the Senate and by some House leaders over the past two years, which will result in a unified and efficient process leading into 2018 as we continue our forward progress.
These compromises mean that everyone (including the administration) can take a step forward together; without them, the risks of division and delay will only persist.
Thank you again for your work in enabling the considerable cannabis reform progress made in the 2017 session, and thank you for your attention and consideration of our perspectives as engaged constituents.
Editor, Heady Vermont
Publisher, Heady Vermont