Not a real solution
Now that marijuana decriminalization is (finally) making its way to a conclusion this legislative session, you might think that the Legislature in Montpelier should be lauded for doing the right thing. However, marijuana as an adult consumer product is too far removed from any rational consideration by a state that could barely handle the decriminalization model, and only after an arduous trek by Marijuana Resolve to help bring and keep it before the public eye. The founders of Marijuana Resolve have long supported marijuana as a legal point-of-sale for adults since the beginning of 2010. We only settled for a decriminalization awareness campaign because we knew back then that our Legislature simply didn’t have the vision that states like Colorado and Washington demonstrated in their recent legalization of marijuana.
The alcohol model, which is the best way to sell packaged marijuana to adult consumers, is also the better way to help prevent underage usage. I challenge anyone to witness a licensed liquor retailer sell to kids. Why would they risk losing a very lucrative adult market just to sell alcohol to a few kids?
The bona fide liquor retailer undertakes in good faith and by law to uphold its state authorized license, which carries a heavy fine, loss of license and incarceration for willfully selling to minors. Well, the same would be true for licensed retailers who sell marijuana to an adult market.
Licensing the manufacturing, packaging and distribution processes of marijuana for adult point-of-sale is not a perfect solution to protect our kids, but state laws cannot be any more imperfect than what they are now in its crazed pursuit by one group of adults trying to control the private and social behavior of other adults.
And if the Vermont Legislature thinks it can pat itself on the back for belated marijuana decriminalization, think again. Decriminalization of marijuana is just another form of criminalization, and it does very little to resolve the social conflict of this unrealistic, unnecessary and ineffective adult prohibition, which does more harm than good.
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