Marijuana legalization bill full of flaws

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Bill H.170 legalizes growing and using recreational marijuana without legalizing its sale or providing regulation or taxation. There are no provisions to ensure the health and safety of all Vermonters. I will be unable to support the bill should it come up for a vote in the House in its present form.

Currently in Vermont medical marijuana can be obtained for a number of ailments from licensed dispensaries.

Possession of less than one ounce for personal recreational use has been decriminalized, which means a civil fine not criminal charges. Growing and selling recreational marijuana is illegal.

In Vermont, few people are incarcerated for possession of small amounts of cannabis. Law enforcement resources are targeted at dealers.

One approach to cannabis is to legalize growing and selling, regulate it, and tax it. However, this is complicated by the fact that at the federal level marijuana continues to be classified as a dangerous controlled substance, on a par with heroin. It is difficult for a state to regulate an industry that is illegal under federal law. The federal government may even have the power to confiscate marijuana tax revenue.

Legalization in other states has been done under a permissive policy of the previous presidential administration. The policies of the new administration on marijuana are not yet clear, but there is reason to believe that there will be less toleration. It is possible that federal agents might begin to enforce federal laws against cannabis more aggressively.

The provisions of H.170 legalize personal possession up to one ounce, which is enough for about 50 joints.

The possession of several plants on private property is legal, and the possession of any amount of cannabis that may have been harvested from such plants in the past is also legal when kept securely.

The bill expands decriminalization to the possession of much larger amounts of marijuana. These legalized and decriminalized amounts are larger than for personal use, so it seems likely that more cannabis will become available overall.

It will be difficult for law enforcement to monitor the source of supplies and to prevent illegal sales.

H.170 legalizes without regulating and taxing. Many in law enforcement, medicine, and education oppose the bill.

My email inbox is full of dueling studies on all health and safety aspects of cannabis use. Most people would agree that young people should not use marijuana or other substances like alcohol and tobacco, and that people should not drive under the influence of marijuana - or other drugs, or alcohol. Adults have a right to choose their own pleasures and vices, but that right must be restricted when such indulgence affects the rights of others to be safe and healthy.

I want to do a better job regulating cannabis than we have done with tobacco and alcohol, which continue to cause disease and social problems. Since it will be hard to do this properly given the current federal prohibition on marijuana, I want to be very cautious.

Before I can support marijuana legalization of any degree we must: 1) better protect young people from using all harmful substances through education and prevention; 2) better protect all Vermonters from impaired drivers through availability of good tests for the presence of cannabis and more trained drug impairment recognition officers; and 3) federal re-classification of cannabis so that we can properly regulate it and so that Vermonters would not be at risk from a surge of federal drug enforcement activity.

Cynthia Browning (D-Arlington) represents the Bennington 4th District in the Vermont House of By Rep. Cynthia Browning

Bill H.170 legalizes growing and using recreational marijuana without legalizing its sale or providing regulation or taxation. There are no provisions to ensure the health and safety of all Vermonters. I will be unable to support the bill should it come up for a vote in the House in its present form.

Currently in Vermont medical marijuana can be obtained for a number of ailments from licensed dispensaries.

Possession of less than one ounce for personal recreational use has been decriminalized, which means a civil fine not criminal charges. Growing and selling recreational marijuana is illegal.

In Vermont, few people are incarcerated for possession of small amounts of cannabis. Law enforcement resources are targeted at dealers.

One approach to cannabis is to legalize growing and selling, regulate it, and tax it. However, this is complicated by the fact that at the federal level marijuana continues to be classified as a dangerous controlled substance, on a par with heroin. It is difficult for a state to regulate an industry that is illegal under federal law. The federal government may even have the power to confiscate marijuana tax revenue.

Legalization in other states has been done under a permissive policy of the previous presidential administration. The policies of the new administration on marijuana are not yet clear, but there is reason to believe that there will be less toleration. It is possible that federal agents might begin to enforce federal laws against cannabis more aggressively.

The provisions of H.170 legalize personal possession up to one ounce, which is enough for about 50 joints.

The possession of several plants on private property is legal, and the possession of any amount of cannabis that may have been harvested from such plants in the past is also legal when kept securely.

The bill expands decriminalization to the possession of much larger amounts of marijuana. These legalized and decriminalized amounts are larger than for personal use, so it seems likely that more cannabis will become available overall.

It will be difficult for law enforcement to monitor the source of supplies and to prevent illegal sales.

H.170 legalizes without regulating and taxing. Many in law enforcement, medicine, and education oppose the bill.

My email inbox is full of dueling studies on all health and safety aspects of cannabis use. Most people would agree that young people should not use marijuana or other substances like alcohol and tobacco, and that people should not drive under the influence of marijuana - or other drugs, or alcohol. Adults have a right to choose their own pleasures and vices, but that right must be restricted when such indulgence affects the rights of others to be safe and healthy.

I want to do a better job regulating cannabis than we have done with tobacco and alcohol, which continue to cause disease and social problems. Since it will be hard to do this properly given the current federal prohibition on marijuana, I want to be very cautious.

Before I can support marijuana legalization of any degree we must: 1) better protect young people from using all harmful substances through education and prevention; 2) better protect all Vermonters from impaired drivers through availability of good tests for the presence of cannabis and more trained drug impairment recognition officers; and 3) federal re-classification of cannabis so that we can properly regulate it and so that Vermonters would not be at risk from a surge of federal drug enforcement activity.

Cynthia Browning (D-Arlington) represents the Bennington 4th District in the Vermont House of By Rep. Cynthia Browning

Bill H.170 legalizes growing and using recreational marijuana without legalizing its sale or providing regulation or taxation. There are no provisions to ensure the health and safety of all Vermonters. I will be unable to support the bill should it come up for a vote in the House in its present form.

Currently in Vermont medical marijuana can be obtained for a number of ailments from licensed dispensaries.

Possession of less than one ounce for personal recreational use has been decriminalized, which means a civil fine not criminal charges. Growing and selling recreational marijuana is illegal.

In Vermont, few people are incarcerated for possession of small amounts of cannabis. Law enforcement resources are targeted at dealers.

One approach to cannabis is to legalize growing and selling, regulate it, and tax it. However, this is complicated by the fact that at the federal level marijuana continues to be classified as a dangerous controlled substance, on a par with heroin. It is difficult for a state to regulate an industry that is illegal under federal law. The federal government may even have the power to confiscate marijuana tax revenue.

Legalization in other states has been done under a permissive policy of the previous presidential administration. The policies of the new administration on marijuana are not yet clear, but there is reason to believe that there will be less toleration. It is possible that federal agents might begin to enforce federal laws against cannabis more aggressively.

The provisions of H.170 legalize personal possession up to one ounce, which is enough for about 50 joints.

The possession of several plants on private property is legal, and the possession of any amount of cannabis that may have been harvested from such plants in the past is also legal when kept securely.

The bill expands decriminalization to the possession of much larger amounts of marijuana. These legalized and decriminalized amounts are larger than for personal use, so it seems likely that more cannabis will become available overall.

It will be difficult for law enforcement to monitor the source of supplies and to prevent illegal sales.

H.170 legalizes without regulating and taxing. Many in law enforcement, medicine, and education oppose the bill.

My email inbox is full of dueling studies on all health and safety aspects of cannabis use. Most people would agree that young people should not use marijuana or other substances like alcohol and tobacco, and that people should not drive under the influence of marijuana - or other drugs, or alcohol. Adults have a right to choose their own pleasures and vices, but that right must be restricted when such indulgence affects the rights of others to be safe and healthy.

I want to do a better job regulating cannabis than we have done with tobacco and alcohol, which continue to cause disease and social problems. Since it will be hard to do this properly given the current federal prohibition on marijuana, I want to be very cautious.

Before I can support marijuana legalization of any degree we must: 1) better protect young people from using all harmful substances through education and prevention; 2) better protect all Vermonters from impaired drivers through availability of good tests for the presence of cannabis and more trained drug impairment recognition officers; and 3) federal re-classification of cannabis so that we can properly regulate it and so that Vermonters would not be at risk from a surge of federal drug enforcement activity.

Cynthia Browning (D-Arlington) represents the Bennington 4th District in the Vermont House of Representatives.

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