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It's Time To Decriminalize Marijuana


New Member
We lost the so called "War on Drugs" a long time ago and it's time to introduce a little common sense. Gov. Jim Douglas' spat with Windsor County prosecutor Robert Sand brought this issue to our attention just recently. I think that the Vermont Lottery does more harm to Vermont citizens than smoking marijuana. The Lottery Commissioner always shouts, "Please play responsibly!" while he and his staff are dreaming up more games to fleece those people who can least afford to lose the money.

Now the governor is talking about leasing the lottery to a private business that will probably further abuse our citizens. The money realized from the proposed lease would be used to help fund our public education program and maybe reduce taxes. Why not get rid of the lottery and find another, more responsible, way to raise money to support the education of our children?

The Vermont prison population continues to grow even though we have farmed out inmates to other locations. Corrections officials, the Legislature and the administration say they are now very concerned. They should be, and maybe they should take some time to find out how many "criminals" they have incarcerated because they were in possession of "significant" amounts of marijuana.

Enforcement officials hold press conferences around here if they seize a few pounds of marijuana. Is that really a significant amount, and should it be enough to send someone to jail when our correctional institutions are bursting at the seams? What is the recidivism rate for those marijuana violators that we have incarcerated? We probably don't have answers for those questions or many others that could be posed. The point is that we need to reconsider our law enforcement stance on marijuana as part of any larger study that we appear poised to do on the ever-increasing Vermont prison population.

There is no argument that Vermont is one of the most heavily taxed states in the country. Despite this, our roads are in horrible shape, we never seem to have enough money for education and the corrections system is bleeding us dry. So where do we go for help? If an adult could legally buy enough marijuana and the paper to roll a cigarette at one of the local convenience stores, would that be the end of the world? I don't think so. The state could tax the hell out of that transaction in order to help pay for our roads and fund our schools. We could probably stop stealing money from people with the Vermont Lottery. Marijuana arrests, related criminal activity and incarceration would decline. Oh, and if someone with a medical condition who could benefit from smoking an occasional joint were able to use some marijuana without feeling like a criminal, that would be nice, too.

We passed the civil unions law in Vermont and the sky didn't fall. Gay marriage doesn't look like it is far behind and the sky still hasn't fallen. Incredibly, we sold and gave up control of Vermont Yankee to a private company and just lately seem "concerned" about some safety issues, including the long-term storage of nuclear waste on the banks of the Connecticut River. I wonder if the sky might fall on that decision?

However, if we allow the same person who can now legally buy a six-pack of beer, a carton of cigarettes or a bunch of lottery tickets at Cumberland Farms to also purchase a personal-use supply of marijuana, the sky will not even notice. After a few months, I don't think anyone will notice except law enforcement, the Corrections Department, the state treasurer and maybe the lottery commissioner.

Source: Burlington Free Press (VT)
Copyright: 2008 Burli ngton Free Press
Contact: Burlington Free Press.com ::
Website: BurlingtonFreePress.com | Vermont News, sports, weather, arts and entertainment


New Member
So true... Good read!
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