Marijuana: Burlington, Vermont City Council Rejects Decriminalization Measure

The Burlington, Vermont, City Council Tuesday narrowly defeated a watered-down ballot question on marijuana decriminalization. The measure would have asked the governor and state legislature "to explore an alternative to the criminal system for dealing with small quantities of marijuana." It failed 7-6.

If the measure had passed, it would have gone before voters at the next annual Town Meeting.

The council did pass an even more watered-down resolution. It voted 11-2 to assign the council's Public Safety Committee the task of exploring "creating another option of handling small quantities of marijuana."

Councilman Ed Adrian, who introduced the original decriminalization measure and who chairs the Public Safety Committee, said the committee will listen to "perspectives from all sides" in the marijuana debate. "I was disappointed that it wasn't put on the ballot so the people could weigh in on this, but that's the way the democratic process works," he said in remarks reported by the Burlington Free Press.

The decrim move in Burlington comes in the context of an emerging debate over drug policy in Vermont. The legislature this session will contend with decriminalization and industrial hemp, as well as bills seeking to crack down on hard drug trafficking, and the level of debate has been rising.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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