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Lawmakers mull how, not if, to legalize marijuana

Sen. Jeanette White

MONTPELIER — Lawmakers are taking up a central question surrounding marijuana legalization, and that is not whether to legalize, but how to do it. The Senate Government Operations Committee took testimony Tuesday from a very one-sided selection of members of the public who touched on questions surrounding licensing, distribution and retail sales, but not if cannabis should be legalized in the first place. During the last legislative session, the committee spent its Friday afternoons combing through a 150-page study from the Rand Corp. — commissioned by the state and released in January — that looked at legalization, from the number of users in the state to potential revenue and the impact on tourism. Committee Chairwoman Jeanette White, D-Windham, acknowledged from the start of Tuesday’s hearings that the question of whether marijuana should be legalized will not rest with her committee, but with the Senate Judiciary Committee. Continue Reading →

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Sorrell outlines state’s GMO case for lawmakers

MONTPELIER — Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell told the Senate Agriculture Committee Wednesday that he expects a judge to rule on dueling motions in the GMO labeling case within the next three months, which will help lay out a path for the rest of the case. A host of food industry groups filed suit last year against the state’s GMO labeling law, set to take effect July 1, 2016, claiming it is unconstitutional. Sorrell briefed the committee Wednesday on the status of the case. The plaintiffs have asked the judge for a summary judgment, claiming the state is restricting their free speech rights by forcing them to label products that contain GMOs. They also claim the state cannot prevent them from calling a product natural if it contains GMOs. Continue Reading →

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Vermont calls more GMO hearings, extends comment deadline

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The Vermont Attorney General’s office is calling a second public hearing on the state’s rules to implement the ban on genetically modified organisms.

In addition to the second hearing scheduled for Feb. 4 at the Vermont Statehouse, the state has extended by two weeks the deadline for submitting written comments on the proposed rules. The new deadline for written comments is Feb. 12. Continue Reading →

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