State Senator Benning: Why VT Republicans Should Favor Legalization | Nat'l Advocates Respond to Bristol Elementary | New Leader Wants Canada to Legalize | Women in Cannabiz Earn More [oct. 20, 2015]

[October 20, 2015] It's hard to top an interview with Melissa Etheridge (coming soon), but lots of Vermontijuana happenings, including more frequent content updates...ELEVATE THE STATE

Senator Joe Benning: One Republican's View on Legalization...

joe benning senate page

(Via VT Digger)  If you haven't been paying attention to the VT cannabis news, and/or VT Digger comment section, you might be surprised to learn that a Republican trial attorney from the NEK is in favor of legalization.  But in this commentary piece published by VT Digger, Senator Joe Benning (R-Caledonia/Orange) discussed why he thinks prohibition conflicts with traditional VT Republican values and why law enforcement doesn't need to wait for a breathalyzer.  Senator Benning serves as Senate Minority Chair, is vice chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, AND serves on the Government Operations Committee.

October 20, 2015 at 11:43 am
I recently wrote about this on Vermontijuana (other updates and commentary from the last week) :
My basic premise is that: for myriad reasons, a breathalyzer-type test (or something similarly quantitative) is neither technologically feasible right now, nor just. While it would be much simpler for law enforcement, there are other measures being used (Drug Recognition Experts), which are not necessarily the most effective, but the correlation between drugged driving accidents/fatalities and legalized recreational use is not always as it appears: The Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (RMHIDTA) Report group are far from the only ones manipulating and misrepresenting statistics, but this is the same group that “informed” the Vermont League of Cities & Towns’ opinion. More links to back this up on the state of the state section of the vermontijuana website .
What I’d propose to Senator Benning, and other policy makers to address enforcement:
As part of the legislation, allocate a percentage of the revenue specifically to increasing training for drug recognition experts, better state police internal oversight to prevent corruption (reduce existing fraud through things like overtime manipulation and more anti-corruption focus as a huge cash influx enters the state), then buy more body cameras (and the supporting software/training), and pay more public defenders to help when there are miscarriages that come from a new enforcement paradigm.
If you want to see more NEK discussion from September, including earlier conversations on law enforcement, the full meeting is on Kingdom Access:
Personally, I think Senator Benning represents a very reasonable law enforcement perspective and even if I didn’t, I sincerely applaud his proactive and engaging stance…this is the way to gather real input from Vermonters and create an informed perspective leading up to the session and this huge issue.
–Eli Harrington, Vermontijuana

Bristol Elementary Refuses to Allow Hemp Oil Treatments to Student [Updated] 

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(Vermontijuana Coverage; Original Story from Free Press) While the school has remained silent, Heather Jackson, the Executive Director of the 501c3 nonprofit, Realm of Caring, did respond to the Bristol story from the organization's national office in Colorado:

"This is a clear sign of outdated and antiquated rules and regulations getting in the way of the health and well-being of a child. Vermont won't prosecute for having hemp oil, you can order them and have them delivered to your doorstep, but a nurse or school cannot administer on the school grounds due to policy. Change the policy. Care more about the child then the politics, it seems very simple to me"
--Heather Jackson, Executive Director

BTV Chief of Police Discusses Legalization

in VPR Interview

(VPR - Burlington's New Police Chief Talks Race Relations, Opiate Addiction, and Marijuana Legalization)  Here's the legalization-specific portion, via the VPR interview:

"I don't have a position on that yet, not because I'm afraid to take one, but because I think there's a lot of consequences that we have to work through. One is that Vermont is a day's drive from about 30 million people who would not have legal access to marijuana otherwise, so legalizing it here is a little different than legalizing it in states that are a little more geographically isolated. I just want to figure out how that would work out. The other thing was a very interesting article in the New York Times that I re-Tweeted that I read, that as marijuana gets legalized, it actually drives down the value of cultivating marijuana in places like Mexico and what quickly moves in then is the opiate crop."

canadian weed flag

On Monday in Canada, Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party won alandslide election. Trudeau, Canada’s new prime minister, ran on a platform of sensible progress and meaningful change. One pillar of the campaign was the responsible legalization of recreational cannabis. Trudeau’s win brought with it a wave of interest in the Canadian cannabis industry.

Read more on and follow them on Twitter @smokereports and like them on their Facebook page...where they also posted an article about wages of female executives in the cannabis industry.