Vermont Senate Backs Medical Marijuana Dispensaries


Graphic: THC Finder

​Vermont senators voted overwhelmingly 25-4 on Thursday to legalize medical marijuana dispensaries in the state.

“We will protect patients by providing a legal source,” said state Sen. Jeanette White (D-Windham), reports Terri Hallenbeck at the Burlington Free Press.
Vermont already has a medical marijuana law, passed in 2004, which allows those with qualifying conditions to sign up for the state’s medical marijuana registry and use the drug legally. This bill would give those patients a legal way to buy marijuana if they don’t grow it themselves, according to White.

The bill would allow the establishment of four state-licensed dispensaries, which would grow marijuana under the supervision of the Department of Public Safety and sell it to patients who have a written statement from a doctor certifying they could be helped by cannabis, reports The Associated Press.

Photo: Burlington Book Festival
Sen. Philip Baruth: “I was in the strange position of having my mother come to me and ask me if I knew any way we could procure marijuana.”

​Sen. Philip Baruth, on the Senate floor Thursday evening, told the story of how his aunt had cancer and doctors told her marijuana might help. Baruth said he was a college student at the time, and found himself in a tough spot.
“I was in the strange position of having my mother come to me and ask me if I knew any way we could procure marijuana,” he said. He told her he did, he said, though by doing so he was jeopardizing his college loan, his place at college and his record.
It was in memory of his aunt, Baruth said, that he voted for the bill.
Of course, whenever it’s medical marijuana we’re talking about, there’s always some know-nothing loudmouth looking to score cheap points at the expense of patients.
“I’m still amazed something illegal under federal guidelines is being made legal,” said a dumb-struck (emphasis on “dumb”) Sen. Richard Mazza (D-Grand Isle/Chittenden), who voted against the dispensary.
Mazza said he was “disappointed” in Public Safety Commissioner Keith Flynn for supporting the bill. A previous hen-hearted previous public safety commissioner had opposed going against federal law, and it seems Mazza wanted Flynn to sink to that lily-livered level in a cowardly attempt to ingratiate themselves with the feds.
Flynn, an appointee of Gov. Peter Shumlin, who also supports the dispensary bill, gave his backing after various “safety measures” were added. The measures included a provision that patients may register with only one dispensary (bad idea; what if you get stuck with a bad one?), and that Public Safety will establish rules governing the pot shops.
“It puts law enforcement in a position of violating federal law,” whined clueless Sen. Vince Illuzzi (R-Essex/Orleans), who is also — surprise, surprise! — Essex County prosecutor.
Illuzzi also claimed he had heard from police who oppose the dispensaries, but who knows, that could be just an Illuzion. Funny how cops become big medical experts all of a sudden when it comes to cannabis, isn’t it?
Patients need a safe, reliable source for the right strains of marijuana for their ailments, said Virginia Renfrew, representing the People with AIDS Coalition.
“Dispensaries will know what strain will be good for you,” Renfrew said. “That, for me, is huge. On the black market, you don’t know what to look for.”
The bill now goes to the House, where Speaker Shap Smith (D-Morristown) said time is running out this legislative session, but he’ll send the bill to the House Human Services Committee.
“My hope is they can move it if they have enough time,” Smith said.