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The Cannabis Catch-Up: Vermont Dems Embrace the Weed


Published August 31, 2018 at 2:14 p.m.

This photo is from D.C., not Vermont, but you get the idea. - DREAMSHOT | DREAMSTIME.COM
  • Dreamshot |
  • This photo is from D.C., not Vermont, but you get the idea.
It was only a matter of time, right?

For years, cannabis acceptance has been a matter of degrees. The Vermont Democratic Party has now gone whole hog.

On Sunday, the party’s platform committee changed its official stance to read that marijuana “should be legal, taxed and regulated in the interests of consumer and public safety, as well as economic opportunity,” reports

“This has been something that Democrats in our state have been passionate about, so this is our way of formalizing that position,” party spokesman Christopher Di Mezzo told Xander Landen.

That’s a pretty big deal, and a sign of how far we’ve come. And while Gov. Phil Scott is still opposed to such a market, he did sign the state’s half-legalization measure that took effect July 1, even though the Republican pol had previously voiced opposition — and vetoed — a similar bill.

Could he change his tune again?

If state Democrats play their cards right, it might not matter. The party could win a veto-proof majority in November. And even if they fall short, several Republicans, including House Minority Leader Don Turner (R-Milton), have voiced support for tax and regulate.

“I think it’s got a better shot than it had in the past,” Rep. Sam Young (D-Glover) told VTDigger. “I think we’ll be really close.”

Here are some other cannabis stories we followed this week:

August 27: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that women who are pregnant or breastfeeding lay off of the weed. Mounting scientific research seems to show this is a good idea. [Jenny Gold, Kaiser Health News]

August 28: Nine more Vermont law enforcement officers will become drug-recognition experts as the state expects more stoned drivers after cannabis legalization took effect July 1. DREs, as they’re known, rely on visual clues to determine if a driver is buzzed. [Howard Weiss-Tisman, Vermont Public Radio]

August 28: Medical marijuana users in New Hampshire are not happy with the fact that they can’t also own firearms, per federal regulations. "It's pretty clear-cut, federally," ATF Special Agent Matthew O'Shaugnessy said. "Unfortunately, there's a lot of confusion people are having." [Mike Cronin, WMUR-TV]

August 29: President Donald Trump’s administration has created a Marijuana Policy Coordination Committee that seeks to push back on all the positive press cannabis has been getting. From the story: “Rather than seek objective information, the committee’s records show it is asking officials only to portray marijuana in a negative light, regardless of what the data show.” [Dominic Holden, BuzzFeed News]

August 29: Regulators in Ohio say cannabidiol products are illegal in the state — unless the CBD goodies are sold in medical marijuana dispensaries, which won't open for months. Hard to believe when CBD is so ubiquitous in Vermont... [Jackie Borchardt,]

August 30: Stockton University in southern New Jersey is offering a “cannabis studies” minor. "It’s an industry that is developing and certainly there are a lot of possibilities and new jobs,” said program coordinator Kathy Sedia. [Karen Rouse, WNYC]

August 31: Michigan residents will vote in November on whether to legalize recreational weed for adults. Proposal 1 would include a directive to create a taxed-and-regulated market in the state, too. [Amy Biolchini,]

August 31: A Las Vegas artist created a 24-foot, fully-functional bong, replete with a 100-gallon water reservoir. It weighs more than 800 pounds and the smoker(s) can pack about a quarter-pound of cannabis in the bowl! The creation is rightfully named “Bongzilla.” [David Montero, Los Angeles Times]

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