#vtpoli

Ruth Hardy – Vermont Senate, Addison

We should look to other states that have implemented such systems to learn from their mistakes and successes. Priorities include public safety (proper labeling, safe driving regulations, and restricting access to minors), revenue and economic controls (dual taxes on wholesale and retail markets), and spurring local business and craft growing.

Heady Vermont Staff
Heady Vermont Staff 9 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?

We should look to other states that have implemented such systems to learn from their mistakes and successes. Priorities include public safety (proper labeling, safe driving regulations, and restricting access to minors), revenue and economic controls (dual taxes on wholesale and retail markets), and spurring local business and craft growing.

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 have been told that the current system offers overpriced products of questionable quality, with poor geographic access around the state. Expanding the retail market with strong regulatory oversight should help solve some of these issues, making sure that the medical market is not captured by a monopoly.
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?
Permitting for regulated dispensaries should have low upfront costs and not discriminate against people with non-violent drug-related criminal records. The legislature should ensure that State’s Attorney offices have the resources and support to appropriately expunge convictions for possession.
How will you make sure that all Vermonters have equal access to joining the legal cannabis industry as small and startup businesses?
I would be in favor of low-cost, non-discriminatory permitting, and learning from other successful local business models, such as the craft beer and artisanal cheese sectors.
Do you think state can sustain both a medical and a recreational program – or would you combine cannabis regulations into one system?
I am unsure what would serve a state of our size and geographical layout – again, looking to other states for lessons is crucial. If combined, rules must be put in place to ensure that medical patients can always get the medicine they need at prices they can afford.
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.
Generally, I am not in favor of tying specific tax revenue to a specific cause, as it then becomes a political football; adding revenues to our general fund will allow us to serve all statewide priorities more fully. However, with additional revenue from cannabis taxation, we should prioritize increased funding for overall addiction treatment & prevention, and related public safety and education programs.
Would you allow Vermont towns to enact temporary moratoriums or outright bans on legal cannabis businesses?
I would not support “NIMBY” policies that ghettoize cannabis, outside of common-sense zoning restrictions involving buffers for schools and child-centered institutions.

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