S.A.M: SAM Statement on Vermont Senate Passage of Compromise Marijuana Bill

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Contact: SAM Press Office/Luke Niforatos  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   [email protected]; 303-335-7584                                January 10, 2018

SAM Statement on Vermont Senate Passage of Compromise Marijuana Bill
(January 10, 2018 – Washington, DC) Today, Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) issued the following statement on the Vermont Senate passage of H.511:
This is not the legalization of retail sales like Colorado, nor should it be construed as such. Smart Approaches to Marijuana is pleased to see the Vermont House of Representatives rejected an amendment that would have legalized retail sales of marijuana in Vermont, creating another big tobacco and littering Vermont neighborhoods with pot shops.
But this bill is still irresponsible and bad for Vermont. We urge Governor Scott to veto the bill.
“We will continue to work within the state of Vermont to stave off the exceptionally harmful retail sales of pot,” said Kevin Sabet, the president and co-founder of SAM. “We look forward to being an educational resource to this administration as they consider the full implications of signing this bill into law.”
This “compromise” bill, H.511, allows for the personal possession of up to one ounce of marijuana, as well as personal cultivation of two mature plants and four immature plants. While this bill is preferable to the full-scale retail bill, it should be noted that there remain major, glaring issues with H.511 that we hope the Governor will consider before signing.
H.511 allows for stockpiling of limitless amounts of marijuana. The one ounce limit for possession in this bill only applies to herb kept on someone’s person. “Any marijuana harvested from the plants allowed pursuant to this subsection shall not count toward the one-ounce possession limit in section 4230a of this title.” There is no limit to how much marijuana people can harvest and store.
H.511 does nothing to prevent the creation and circulation of “dabs” and “shatter”, highly potent THC concentrates that can send people to the hospital. This bill only prohibits chemical extraction of marijuana via butane or hexane, which are not the only methods to cook hash oil. Also, extremely strong edibles, the kind that children can easily confuse with normal treats, are allowed under this bill.
There are no provisions in H.511 for safe disposal of excess plants. H.511 allows for the cultivation of 2 mature and 4 immature pot plants per household, yet there is no protocol for a household to follow when their immature plants mature while they still have mature plants growing. Throwing plants out in the trash gives easy access to children.
H.511 will enlarge the huge black market for selling pot. Washington D.C, which uses a model similar to H.511 has developed a thriving “gift economy” marijuana industry. These businesses – many offering delivery – get around the no selling law by selling things like cups and shirts for an extremely high price, and then throwing in a free gift of marijuana.
Perhaps the greatest concern now is what major impacts Vermont is opening itself up to in terms of the federal government’s marijuana enforcement. Just before this bill passed the House, it was announced that US Attorney General Jeff Sessions would be rescinding the Obama era Cole Memo which directed the federal government to leave states alone if they chose to legalize marijuana.
This bill is clearly a slippery slope to full retail legalization. The rollback of the Cole Memo changes everything and it would be irresponsible for Vermont to flaunt legalization in the face of the federal decision. At best Vermont risks losing much needed federal dollars.


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