#vtpoli

Christine Hallquist – Governor

I would work with the legislature to ensure that a tax and regulate system was passed into law in my first term. I think that enough research has been done and enough systems implemented, that I don’t really feel the need to dictate a specific system. Rather, I believe it would be my job to work collaboratively with all stakeholders – legislators, interest groups, etc. to make sure the system is a reality. We don’t need more studies on implementation, we need action. The prospective tax revenue aside, I believe that this is a public health and safety issue. With fentanyl laced marijuana making its way into Vermont, we must not delay in putting a tax and regulate system into law.

Heady Vermont Staff
Heady Vermont Staff 3 Aug 2018

What, in your mind, is the ideal structure for a functional legal Tax and Regulate system? How would you work with other branches of government to create this kind of system?
I would work with the legislature to ensure that a tax and regulate system was passed into law in my first term. I think that enough research has been done and enough systems implemented, that I don’t really feel the need to dictate a specific system. Rather, I believe it would be my job to work collaboratively with all stakeholders – legislators, interest groups, etc. to make sure the system is a reality. We don’t need more studies on implementation, we need action. The prospective tax revenue aside, I believe that this is a public health and safety issue. With fentanyl laced marijuana making its way into Vermont, we must not delay in putting a tax and regulate system into law.

How would you assess Vermont’s current medical marijuana program? How will you ensure that registered medical patients and caregivers have access to an abundance of high-quality cannabis products priced at or below market rates?

I would need more information on the functioning of the current system and would welcome the opportunity to sit down with experts in this area. I do know that there are serious positive benefits for medical patients and even though I recognize my need for further education on the issue, I do want to be clear that access for medical patients would be a priority in my administration.

How will you ensure that people who’ve been disproportionately affected by prohibition (such as convicts and People Of Color) will have an equal opportunity to participate in Vermont’s legal cannabis industry? In particular, how will you work for statewide expungement of convictions for possession?

I have publicly stated my opposition to the disproportionate incarceration of people of color and I believe that the ACLU’s smart justice program addresses many of the concerns associated with this question. I believe Vermont needs to bring prisoners home and that we need to expunge the records of non-violent offenders and drastically cut our prison population. With regard to participation in the legal cannabis industry, I would love more information on suggested options for participation in future Vermont industries for anyone, including historically marginalized populations.

How will you make sure that all Vermonters have equal access to joining the legal cannabis industry as small and startup businesses?

Vermont is known for it’s startup and entrepreneurial spirit. I think that any tax and regulate and legal market should include provisions that support new small businesses and that ensure that any large cannabis industry players are not advantaged in a way that would prohibit equal access from small and startup businesses.

Do you think state can sustain both a medical and a recreational program – or would you combine cannabis regulations into one system?

I believe that these two systems can coexist. I think that a medical system is also related to the issue of healthcare in general and I don’t believe that it should be excluded from that conversation. I believe that a recreational system could reach as far as being included in economic development plans, locally and regionally. So, I’m not sure if I believe that combining systems would necessarily make sense. But, I’m open to additional information and would welcome any more specifics on this question!

If tax-and-regulate is passed, how would you prefer to allocate cannabis revenues? To the general fund or to specific causes? If specific, please share any proposals.
I really don’t think that this question is something that solely a governor should decide. I would view my job as facilitating this conversation and making sure that Vermonters across the state were included in the conversation. That said, I believe that there are plenty of areas in which we must invest: our public education system (from pre-k through higher education), addressing the opiate epidemic – we must not delay in addressing this, water quality – Beth Pearce has a plan to clean up our waterways and I believe we must fund this plan. This is just the start to a long list, but those are some examples.

Would you allow Vermont towns to enact temporary moratoriums or outright bans on legal cannabis businesses?

Given that recent polling suggests that a majority of Vermonters support a tax and regulate system (let alone legalization), I do not foresee a situation in which a town would have a majority of voters that would ask for such a moratorium. That said, I do believe that rights of local voters to feel that they have agency in their communities is important – much in the same way that I believe that voters should be respected when the vote for and pass school budgets. So, I think this is a case by case situation, but I would be curious of communities suggesting that they’d like to try to enact something like this with a popular vote.

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