Vermont Senate approves marijuana legalization
– AP | washingtontimes.com
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) – The Vermont Senate gave preliminary approval Wednesday to a bill to legalize the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana by adults in the state.
Approval came on a 16-13 roll call vote after about two hours of debate.
Opponents said Vermont should not be legalizing another drug at a time when the state, like many others, is fighting a surge in opiate abuse.
Senate President Pro Tem John Campbell, a Windsor County Democrat, argued that opiate abuse had reached “epidemic proportions” in Vermont.
“Shouldn’t we be trying to solve that problem first, before we introduce another drug that we all have to admit has mind-altering characteristics?” he asked.
Others argued that the public is already well acquainted with marijuana, citing a recent Rand Corp. study that found that more than 80,000 of the state’s residents had used marijuana within the previous month of the survey.
“With over 80,000 Vermonters admitting to using marijuana on a monthly basis, it could not be more clear that the current system is broken,” Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin, who supports legalization, said after the Senate vote.
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