Senator Philip Baruth’s Plan To Tax, Regulate, Educate

Sen. Philip Baruth
Kathryn Blume 10 Jun 2020

Much of the work on S.54, a bill to establish a commercial cannabis market in Vermont, got delayed due to the Coronavirus epidemic. While the legislature has finally begun taking up non-pandemic-related legislation, they’ve yet to re-engage with S.54, which is sitting in the Reconciliation Committee, where they’ll hash out the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill before sending it for a full floor vote.

Chittenden County Senator Philip Baruth, in an effort to defibrillate the political dialogue, just published an editorial in VT Digger suggesting that not only should the legislature pass S.54 with all due haste, but that the proceeds from a taxed and regulated cannabis market be earmarked, in large part, for a permanent fund to support the much-beleaguered state college system.

We caught up with Senator Baruth to ask him about the origins of this idea, how he’s responding to detractors, and his insider’s take on why the bill is still not being discussed by the Reconciliation Committee [Hint: It has something to do with certain members of House leadership].

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