We need to craft our own policies before other surrounding states legalize marijuana so we can do it the Vermont way. To keep Vermonters safe, we must insist on clear, stringent labeling of marijuana products and organic/GMO certification. We must have tough laws prohibiting driving under the influence. We must ensure safe sales through controlled distribution like alcohol and under the oversight of the liquor control board. And we must keep marijuana and marijuana products away from minors through a variety of methods, including stringent regulation at point of sale and prohibition of products that are easily confused with candy.
This crop is ideal for our already thriving value-added agricultural industry, and we can earmark tax revenue to address opiate addiction and other substance abuse. And if we do this right and act quickly, we have the opportunity to set the standard for legalization across the country and allow Vermont farmers and entrepreneurs to benefit from establishing a trusted Vermont brand.
A strong Marijuana policy will achieve the following:
- Undercut the criminal market.
- Better control youth access.
- Create a system of tested and labeled products.
- Generate revenue that can be used for prevention, treatment and education.
- Reduce an adversarial relationship between law enforcement and marijuana users.
- Vermont legislature, given its thoughtful and thorough work, should be the first to enact this type of reform.
- Better to put a controlled system in place now than have to respond after voter referenda result in reform in other states like Maine and Massachusetts.