Senate Tacks Pot Legalization Onto An Unrelated Bill

MONTPELIER— Today, April 27, the Vermont Senate added language to tax and regulate recreational marijuana to an unrelated bill that is going up for consideration in the House, according to an email received at The Bridge from Senator David Zuckerman’s office. Senators took language from senate bill S.241 — known as the “pot bill” — and attached it to H.858.

Bill H.858, is “an act relating to miscellaneous criminal procedure amendments,” and primarily deals with an amendment to the sex offender registry, court reimbursements and definitions of people driving while “under the influence of intoxicating liquor or other substance with either death or serious bodily injury resulting.”

The bill, H.858, with new legalized non-medical marijuana regulation language attached, was then returned to the House, according to a press notification from Zuckerman. “This move comes as Senate leaders are frustrated that the House has failed to pass S.241,” Zuckerman’s notification states. After the Senate acted, Zuckerman, a long-time leader for cannabis reform in Montpelier, issued the following statement:

“I hope Speaker Shap Smith and the members of the House recognize the majority of Vermonters support this legislation and I urge them to address this issue before the end of the session. It is clear prohibition has not worked to curb use. Teens have virtually unfettered access to cannabis, which is of unknown quality and concentration. It is clear from other states that a regulated system does not result in chaos, but instead creates a regulated environment much like we have to alcohol and tobacco. Vermont has an estimated illicit economy related to cannabis of $150 million a year. With a robust regulatory system we can foresee revenue streams for education, prevention and treatment. We can also have consumer safeguards and boost to our rural economy. It is time to act on cannabis reform.”

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