• Jail official backs legal marijuana
     | November 12,2013

    MONTPELIER — A jail superintendent in New Hampshire is speaking out in Vermont in support of legalizing marijuana.

    Richard Van Winkler, superintendent of the Cheshire County House of Corrections, will speak today at a meeting at the Vermont Statehouse that will run from 7 to 9 p.m. He told Vermont Public Radio that under the current system, drug money goes to bad guys and the money funds terrorism.

    “If we legalize, control, regulate, tax in the same way that we do for alcohol, we put the illegal drug dealer out of business,” said Van Winkler, who emphasized that advocating for policy reform is not the same as advocating for using marijuana.

    In July, Vermont decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana. The states of Colorado and Washington recently legalized marijuana, and Van Winkler thinks other states should follow.

    He estimates that about 15 percent of the inmates at his facility are nonviolent drug offenders.

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