To the editor: Not the time to legalize marijuana

I have kept a keen eye on the marijuana legalization issue over the months. Vermonters should not be fooled into thinking this is a Vermont thing. The Marijuana Policy Project, a Washington, D.C., organization, has sent Matt Simon to our lovely state to lobby for marijuana to be legal in our state. Mr. Simon lives in New Hampshire but is pushing for a law that has long term implications for Vermont youth, families, education system, highway safety and overall health. MPP paid thousands of dollars to Gov.  Peter Shumlin’s campaign and has hired two full-time workers to organize and run a pro-legalization organization in our state.

The RAND report, released in January, is lengthy and non-committal. In summary it says that if Vermont wants to know the TRUE cost of legalization on society, then it should wait. If Vermont wants to reap as much cash, it should act and act quickly.

Our current laws allow for medical marijuana use and have made possession a civil offense rather than criminal. Thus, the only reason to legalize is for the money. If we need a revenue stream from mind altering substances, the alcohol tax has not been raised since the 1980s. Do we need yet a third legal, addictive drug?

Recently, I saw a group of teens on NBC news discussing their disappointment that Colorado used to be known for its mountainous beauty and tourism for skiing and hiking. Now, it is known as “pot central.” I cannot help but wonder what disappointments face us as a state. Will the lives of Vermonters be sold out in consideration for marijuana tourism?

Once again, it is time to “Take Back Vermont” from the policy forces from outside our state and wait to see the true costs legalization will have on us. Let’s speak up and ask our decision makers that the time is NOT now.

Melanie Sheehan

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  1. W Reed says:

    Wow Chris,
    I respect your opinion, but..
    Sounds like reefer madness to me. Time to get your head out of the sand and embrace the future rather than being stuck in the past. Most people currently refer to it as marijuana not pot. Be it medical (medicinal), recreational or hemp it is coming whether you accept it or not. I think you should read some of the current studies that are out instead of repeating the fear tactics of the past. There are valid reasons for legalization.
    You can start here –

  2. Chris Curran says:

    The time to legalize marijuana is NEVER. Governor Shumlin in his State of the State proclaimed a war on Drugs, so why should we legalize any drug? I heartily support and endorse the letter of Melanie Sheehan in opposition to any effort to legalize “pot”. Get these pot pushers out of Vermont. marijuana only provides an entry to further drug experimentation and addiction. I strongly urge the Governor and legislature to firmly oppose any efforts to push marijuana legalization forward. The country is already “going to pot” in too many ways.
    Chris Curran