House Speaker Gaye Symington and Senate President Peter Shumlin held a Statehouse press conference Thursday to talk about their health care plans.
But at least a few people there wondered what the two top Democrats thought of the recent scuffle between Gov. James Douglas and Windsor County State’s Attorney Robert Sand, who has made headlines for supporting the decriminalization of marijuana.
If you don’t remember, Douglas asked police to bypass Sand’s office on marijuana cases after he ordered diversion for a local attorney caught with more than 30 pot plants. But then last week a case surfaced in Orange County where the prosecutor ordered diversion for a man arrested with more than 100 plants.
And this week, Douglas rescinded his Sand policy after the prosecutor made it clear he does not have a policy of sending first-time possession cases to diversion. Douglas said the Orange County case had no bearing on his decision – but the news provided some ammo for his critics.
Symington and Shumlin seemed a bit reluctant to talk about the scuffle. But Symington characterized Douglas’ switch as a “retreat from his intrusion into the prerogative” of a state’s attorney.
“He was wrong on this one,” agreed Shumlin.
The Senate President added that he is interested in having a drug policy debate in the new session, saying the state “wastes tremendous resources prosecuting small charges and researching small charges.”
He said the Senate Judiciary Committee to look into the issue of marijuana prosecutions.