Legalize it? Shumlin welcomes new cannabis debate in Vermont

In the wake of a federal memorandum that appears to condone the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington, Gov. Peter Shumlin said he’s “open to further discussion” about instituting similar cannabis laws here.

The Department of Justice issued a long-awaited directive last week that outlines a hands-off approach for dealing with producers and sellers of marijuana in states that have legalized the plant, so long as those states have put in place “a strong and effective state regulatory system.”

Shumlin, a longtime proponent of cannabis reform, signed into law earlier this year the decriminalization legislation he spent years pushing through the Statehouse. Just two months after that law took effect, the second-term Democrat said he’s ready to talk about going further.

“I applaud the Department of Justice for being more clear about how they’re going to enforce legislative issues of small amounts of marijuana,” Shumlin said Tuesday. “And I am open to a further discussion in Vermont about what makes the most sense for this state.”

Shumlin hasn’t sought to bring the issue to the fore, and his comments about marijuana Tuesday came in response to questions from reporters on hand for a press conference on an unrelated issue.

But the politically astute governor also hasn’t been shy about talking about the issue, and, as Seven Days reported last month, Shumlin is scheduled to participate in a fundraising conference call later this month with the Marijuana Policy Project, a national advocacy outfit pushing for legalization. The subject of the call: “to discuss our strategy for legalizing marijuana nationwide over the next four years.”

During the debate over decriminalization, Shumlin said legalization would fly too aggressively in the face of federal statutes that now classify marijuana as Schedule I narcotic with no medicinal value. In light of the new DOJ stance, however, Shumlin said he’s ready to talk legalization.

4 Responses to Legalize it? Shumlin welcomes new cannabis debate in Vermont

  1. Surprise, surprise…….legalize dope, close yankee, once more Vermont slips closer to stupid.  This country will destroy itself from within……

  2. Only dopes smoke dope. Where is the scietific data to support medical advantages by smoking weed? I think the governor and most of the libs in Montpeculiar are smoking it. Well said deerhunter358.

  3. charliepanadero

    ​Way
    back in 1999, the Institute of Medicine, a branch of the National
    Academy of Sciences, said: “Scientific data indicate the potential
    therapeutic value of cannabinoid drugs, primarily THC, for pain relief,
    control of nausea and vomiting, and appetite stimulation; smoked
    marijuana, however, is a crude THC delivery system that also delivers
    harmful substances.”*
    Since
    that report was released more than a decade ago, the evidence for the
    medical benefits of marijuana and related drugs has continued to
    increase. In the last three years alone, cannabinoids have been found to
    help kill breast cancer cells, fight liver cancer, reduce inflammation,
    have antipsychotic effects and even potentially help stave off the
    development of Alzheimer’s disease and reduce progression of
    Huntington’s disease.
    Further,
    a 2011 review of the effectiveness of cannabinoids for non-cancer pain
    found “no significant adverse effects” and “significant” analgesic
    effects.
    If you choose not to believe the scientific studies showing a profound medical benefit, nor believe all the anecdotal
    evidence you see in the news, on a common sense level, have you not had
    friends who “got the munchies” after smoking? That effect can be
    beneficial to anyone who has a medical condition causing a dangerously
    low body weight.
    And
    marijuana is far far better than alcohol which truly has no medical
    purpose except to sterilize your skin (and if it kills
    everything on your skin on the outside, imagine what it’s doing on the
    inside).
    If
    two drunk guys bump in to each other in a bar at 2 AM, they cuss each other out,  get in a
    fist fight, drive home at 20 MPH over the speed limit, have fights
    with their wives and wake up hung way over.  If two guy who have been smoking weed bump in to each
    other, they apologize, hug, drive home at 5 MPH under the limit, make sweet,
    sweet love to their wives – and no hangover.
    “Name
    your poison” came about because alcohol is literally poison. If you
    drink enough of it you will die. But there is no amount of marijuana you
    can smoke that would kill you.
    Think
    about this: if marijuana is so bad, where is all the assistance for the
    “pot addicts?” There are thousands upon thousands of programs and
    counselors and facilities devoted specifically to treatment for alcohol
    addiction – but NOT ONE devoted to only marijuana.
    Tens of millions of people smoke, but just about the only time it causes problems is when you’re arrested for it.
    There
    is no rational reason not to legalize and tax it (10% value added tax
    to pay for national health care). Right now billions are being spent
    trying to stop it and no money is being made on taxes on it. But the
    supply and demand just keep growing and all the billions wasted on
    enforcement are accomplishing are keeping the price high and filling the
    prisons with people who absolutely should not be there.
    The
    reason it hasn’t yet been legalized is the drug companies don’t want
    the competition and law enforcement/industrial prison complex don’t want
    their budgets cut. With legalized marijuana, drug companies would see a
    huge drop in their antidepressant sales, we’d need far less law
    enforcement and every jail and prison in this country would be putting
    up VACANCY signs.
    PS: Also, there should be a national law against patenting marijuana strains so keep Monsanto and the like out of this.
    *http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=6376&page=4