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Thursday, April 26, 2018

Tax-and-Regulate Pot Bill Revived in Vermont House

Posted By on Thu, Apr 26, 2018 at 5:13 PM

  • Luke Eastman
Rep. Diana González (P/D-Winooski) on Thursday revived the prospect of establishing a regulated marketplace for marijuana in Vermont, offering an amendment to an unrelated bill on the House floor.

González said she’s been working toward the proposal for most of the legislative session, and that recent conversations suggest there are enough votes to pass it. She said it’s got support among some Republicans who voted against January’s legalization bill because it didn’t establish a means to tax and regulate sales.

“Ultimately what we need are the votes, and in our conversations it looks like we have them,” González said.

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Vermont Lawmakers Vote to Make Opioid Treatment Widely Available in Prison

Posted By on Thu, Apr 26, 2018 at 3:51 PM

  • File: Matt Morris
The Vermont House gave unanimous approval Thursday to a bill that would make medication for opioid addiction available to all inmates who need it.

Inmates are currently taken off their buprenorphine or methadone after 120 days. The bill, which cleared the Senate last month, would eliminate the time limit. And it would allow inmates to get a prescription while in prison, instead of limiting treatment to those who had one before they were incarcerated.

“This is a really important step for us … in the fight against the opioid epidemic,” said Rep. Selene Colburn (P-Burlington), who pushed for the change.

Rep. George Till (D-Jericho), a doctor, said the bill underscores the fact that addiction is a disease.

Last November, Seven Days wrote about inmates who were being taken off their addiction medication and forced to endure excruciating withdrawal. Some of those inmates sought street drugs when they were released, and they overdosed.

A week after the story was published, the Department of Corrections announced that it would expand treatment, previously limited to 30 days in most prisons, to 120 days.

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Vermont Tax Chief Declines to Detail Education Funding Proposal

Posted By on Thu, Apr 26, 2018 at 12:13 PM

The House Ways and Means Committee looks to Tax Commissioner Kaj Samsom for answers. - TAYLOR DOBBS
  • Taylor Dobbs
  • The House Ways and Means Committee looks to Tax Commissioner Kaj Samsom for answers.
Vermont Tax Commissioner Kaj Samsom refused to share the details of Gov. Phil Scott's yet-to-be-announced school funding plan during a hearing Thursday morning before the House committee that oversees tax policy.

House Ways and Means Committee chair Janet Ancel (D-Calais) said the “clock is ticking” on the legislative session, which is expected to last two more weeks. Committee members voiced concern and frustration that the administration has hinted at a comprehensive proposal but provided few details.

“I’d like to know if there is going to be a proposal … to use one-time money,” Ancel told Samsom. “Where would it come from, and how would it be replaced? Those are all things that would affect tax rates.”

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'Women of Cannabis' Cultivate Ideas and Relationships

Posted By on Thu, Apr 26, 2018 at 11:34 AM

Heady Vermont CEO Monica Donovan, right, chats with an attendee. - KATIE JICKLING
  • Katie Jickling
  • Heady Vermont CEO Monica Donovan, right, chats with an attendee.
Women can have a special place in Vermont's cannabis industry, according to Kathryn Blume, the content and events manager for cannabis advocacy group Heady Vermont. After all, only female cannabis plants produce the buds that can be smoked, which gives women an "innate connection" with the plant, she explained.

Blume aimed to foster that connection with "Women of Cannabis," a networking event meant to encourage entrepreneurship ahead of recreational marijuana legalization in Vermont on July 1. About 30 attendees made small talk and snacked on refreshments Wednesday at the Burlington clothing store Tailfeather, where product racks were pushed aside to make way for the event.

Some women were novices, interested in exploring entrepreneurial opportunities in the cannabis industry. Kirstin Daigle, who works in quality assurance at Stone Environmental in Montpelier, said she was interested in helping labs improve their cannabis testing practices and attended "to learn." Denise Stubbs was just entering her first season selling five varieties of high-cannabidiol (CBD) hemp plants from her home in Plainfield.

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