Response to Letter from Governor Phil Scott: Will Read

Heady Vermont Cannabis Op-Ed
Heady Vermont Staff 20 May 2017

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


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