|Photo: Straight Talk On Marriage
|Pete Shumlin: “We need to have an honest conversation with Vermonters about changing laws that are diverting resources and attention from real problems, and filling our prisons up with folks that shouldn’t be there”
Gubernatorial candidate Pete Shumlin will be at the University of Vermont next week along with other speakers to discuss marijuana decriminalization at an event sponsored by Marijuana Resolve, a Vermont non-profit focused on cannabis policy reform issues.
“We need to have an honest conversation with Vermonters about changing laws that are diverting resources and attention from real problems, and filling our prisons up with folks that shouldn’t be there,” Vermont Senate President Pro Tem Shumlin said in June as he called for marijuana decriminalization
“I believe it is a mistake to be sending young people on second, third, fourth offenses to prison on marijuana-related charges,” said Shumlin, who has previously sponsored a decriminalization bill. “That’s where we could make a difference.”
If elected governor, Shumlin has pledged he will work to pass legislation that will make possession of up to an ounce of marijuana a civil, rather than a criminal, violation, punishable by a $100 fine without the possibility of jail time.
A measure that would have done exactly that, and which also had the support of Vermont voters, was pending throughout the latest legislative session.
A 2009 Mason-Dixon poll of voters in the state showed 63 percent supported the measure, with just 27 percent opposed. Additionally, a non-binding resolution on the Montpelier town meeting day ballot urging the Legislature to pass the bill got more than 72 percent of the vote.
Nevertheless, the decrim bill never even received a hearing.
The measure has the support of at least one of the State’s Attorneys in Vermont, Windsor County’s Robert Sand.
“Police officers could respond, but they could respond roadside and issue a ticket without the need to arrest, process, run a criminal history, prepare a docket for state’s attorney review,” Sand said last month.
“That would be a significant savings in law enforcement time, which would allow police officers to then move on to what I would suggest are more pressing matters, like patrolling for drunk drivers or responding to crimes against persons,” Sand said.
Besides Shumlin, also speaking will be former Vermont State Representative Daryl Pillsbury.
The event, which will be Tuesday, August 10 from 7 to 9 p.m., is free and open to the public.
For more information, contact Vidda Crochetta, Marijuana Resolve’s state coordinator, at (802) 579-1377 or email [email protected]
- WHAT: Discussion of marijuana decriminalization efforts in Vermont
- WHO: Gubernatorial candidate Pete Shumlin and former State Rep. Daryl Pillsbury
- WHERE: University of Vermont, Ira Allen Lecture Hall, 42 University Place, Burlington, VT 05405
- WHEN: Tuesday, August 10, 7 to 9 p.m.