Marijuana Legalization Vote - H.511

Update January 11th 2018
Yesterday the senate, by voice vote, passed H.511. It now goes to the Governor.

January 4th 2018

The Vermont House voted 81 to 63 to legalize the possession, by those 21 or over, of a small quantity of marijuana and the cultivation of a half-dozen plants. The bill (H.511) will have to be approved by the Senate and the Governor before it takes effect on July 1st of this year. I voted against it.

Here's the details of the vote.

R-Yea  5
R-Nay 45
D-Yea  65
D-Nay 15
R-Absent 3
D-Absent 2
Oth-Yea 11
Oth-Nay 3
Oth-Absent 0
Abstain 0
Not-Voting 1
    The reason for my vote
    If there must be a legalization of marijuana in Vermont, this is not the way to do it. Marijuana has value as a prescribed medicine, but not as an unrestricted recreational substance. Those who choose to consume marijuana should be well informed, know what they are doing and be willing to support the necessary governmental infrastructure to make it available. This means I want to see educational programs, public warnings, informed product testing and taxation before it is legalized. We need regulations to prevent over-commercialization of the product and to keep large corporations out of the business.

    Marijuana is particularly dangerous for the young. I am somewhat relieved by the fact that this is recognized in H.511. For those over 21, marijuana should be similar to alcohol. The potency of the product must be tested and made clear at purchase. There must be educational outreach such that everyone knows the dangerous effects of its usage, particularly if it is consumed regularly. 

    The war on drugs has not worked. Forcing people and product into an untaxed black market has increased crime, rewarded criminals and resulted in lethal products consumed by misinformed individuals.