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Vermont Senate Passes Medical Marijuana Dispensary Bill

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #680)
Drug War Issues
Politics & Advocacy

A bill that would create a system of state-regulated medical marijuana dispensaries passed the Vermont Senate Friday on a 25-4 vote, but not before being amended to limit patients' ability to grow their own. The bill, Senate 17, is backed by Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) and now heads for the House.

Vermont could be the next medical marijuana dispensary state. (Image via
In order to assure passage, bill sponsors accepted amendments limiting patients to registering with only one dispensary and barring patients registered with a dispensary from growing their own or obtaining medical marijuana from anyone other than the dispensary. Dispensaries would be regulated by the Department of Public Safety.

"We will protect patients by providing a legal source," Sen. Jeanette White (D-Windham) told her colleagues during debate.

Sen. Philip Baruth (D-Chittenden) recalled how his mother had asked him as a college student to procure marijuana for an aunt dying of cancer. He did so, but it meant he risked arrest and other negative consequences, he said. Vermont's current law puts patients in a similar bind, he said.

"For us to say we have sanctioned medical marijuana but will not provide legal access to that drug strikes me as not only potentially painful for families that are involved in these things, but also surreal," Baruth said.

Not everyone supported the bill. "I'm still amazed something illegal under federal guidelines is being made legal," said Sen. Richard Mazzo (D-Grand Isle/Chittenden)," before voting against it.

"This dispensary bill, in addition to requiring our state's primary law enforcement agency to support misdemeanor illegal activity, on the federal level by having dispensaries of this type we now involve them in regulating and overseeing what essentially is a felony under federal law," said Sen. Randy Brock (R-Franklin).

But those sentiments were a distinct minority Friday. Now, with the clock ticking on the legislature session, the question is whether the bill can move through the House before the session ends. 

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


oldvet (not verified)

politicians who do not support the wishes of  voters will have to find employment elsewhere. Americans want legal access to marijuana .plain and simple .

Mon, 04/18/2011 - 10:02am Permalink
Wallfisher (not verified)

Morally, if they are so sure marijuana is the wrong choice for everyone, then they have obligated themselves into the position of accepting complete responsibility for all the damages and deaths associated with what they believe to be the right choice for everyone.

Wed, 04/20/2011 - 10:43pm Permalink

Cannabis should be legalized and taxed. It would stimulate our economy in a very big way.

The American voters want cannabis to be legalized and in the end that is what will be.

Mon, 05/02/2011 - 8:11am Permalink

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