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Monday, June 10, 2019

Cannabis
Vermont State Police Won't Investigate Champlain Valley Dispensary

Posted By on Mon, Jun 10, 2019 at 4:00 AM

A sample of a cannabis plant that was found at Pete's Greens - AGENCY OF AGRICULTURE, FOOD AND MARKETS
  • Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets
  • A sample of a cannabis plant that was found at Pete's Greens
The Vermont State Police has declined to investigate allegations that Champlain Valley Dispensary illegally grew hundreds of marijuana plants at a Craftsbury vegetable farm.

The law enforcement agency reviewed information compiled last October by the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets but “determined there was no appropriate criminal investigation or charges based on the facts of the case,” said Adam Silverman, a state police spokesperson.

Instead, VSP referred the matter to the Vermont Crime Information Center — which directly oversees the medical marijuana registry — for regulatory review, Silverman said. That process can include “sending a notice of noncompliance or a notice of violation, or suspending or terminating a dispensary’s certificate,” according to Silverman.

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Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Vermont Sues Eight Members of Sackler Family

Posted By on Tue, May 21, 2019 at 5:43 PM

Attorney General T.J. Donovan - FILE: TAYLOR DOBBS
  • File: Taylor Dobbs
  • Attorney General T.J. Donovan
The Vermont Attorney General's Office filed suit Tuesday against eight members of the Sackler family, accusing them of using deceptive practices at their company Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin.

Members of the family made a fortune while directing company officials to falsely claim the prescription drug was not addictive, thus contributing to the opioid epidemic in Vermont and elsewhere, Attorney General T.J. Donovan said at a Burlington press conference announcing the lawsuit.

"They made billions of dollars off the backs of patients who became addicted to OxyContin. They made billions of dollars. The entire Sackler family has been unjustly enriched by their misdeeds," Donovan said.

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Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Bills Would Allow Legal Action in Older Sexual Abuse Cases

Posted By on Wed, May 8, 2019 at 8:29 PM

Vermont's House Judiciary Committee - TAYLOR DOBBS
  • Taylor Dobbs
  • Vermont's House Judiciary Committee
Victims of sexual assault or exploitation would get expanded opportunity to hold perpetrators accountable in court under a pair of bills making their way through the Vermont legislature.

H. 511 would extend or remove the statute of limitations on multiple sex crimes and other serious offenses, giving prosecutors more time to bring charges.

The other bill, H. 330, concerns civil claims against institutions alleged to have failed to adequately protect children. Current law allows cases to be brought within six years of the underlying allegations or of their disclosure by victims. The proposal would allow victims to sue regardless of how many years have passed.

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Friday, May 3, 2019

Cannabis
High THC Cannabis Found at Farm Linked to Champlain Valley Dispensary

Posted By on Fri, May 3, 2019 at 2:28 PM

A sample of a cannabis plant that was found on a farm by staff from the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets in October 2018. - AGENCY OF AGRICULTURE, FOOD AND MARKETS
  • Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets
  • A sample of a cannabis plant that was found on a farm by staff from the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets in October 2018.
Updated at 5:28 p.m.

The medical marijuana business Champlain Valley Dispensary allegedly outsourced the growth of approximately 300 cannabis plants to a farm that wasn't licensed to grow pot, which grew them to maturity before the dispensary returned to harvest the crop.

A lab test conducted last fall by the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets found that a piece of plant debris recovered at Pete’s Greens vegetable farm in Craftsbury contained 21 percent THC, the psychoactive compound found in marijuana.

The farm had a license to grow hemp plants, according to an agency document, but the legal limit for THC in Vermont-grown hemp is 0.3 percent. Plants with a higher concentration of THC are considered marijuana and are subject to strict growing regulations that require a permit, locked facilities and other security measures.

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Thursday, May 2, 2019

Cannabis
Retail Marijuana Sales Bill Clears a Key House Committee

Posted By on Thu, May 2, 2019 at 9:18 PM

Rep. Sarah Copeland Hanzas (D-Bradford) presides over a meeting of the House Government Operations committee. - TAYLOR DOBBS
  • Taylor Dobbs
  • Rep. Sarah Copeland Hanzas (D-Bradford) presides over a meeting of the House Government Operations committee.
After a debate that lasted well into Thursday evening, the House Government Operations Committee voted 10-1 for legislation that would create a regulated retail market for marijuana in Vermont.

The bill would also establish a saliva-testing protocol to help police investigate impaired driving. The committee also changed the way the proposed legislation would empower local governments to restrict weed business. New language would require a community vote before any retail pot shops could open in a given municipality.

The legislation passed the Senate with no measures for roadside testing or other highway safety policies. Gov. Phil Scott has repeatedly said that he wouldn’t approve any retail cannabis bill that doesn't include saliva testing for drivers and dedicated funding for education and prevention programs.

The new House version comes close to meeting Scott’s demands. It would create a substance misuse prevention fund with 30 percent of the tax revenues from pot sales, and it would establish a saliva-testing protocol to help police investigate driving under the influence.

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Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Cannabis
Vermont Cannabis Bill Hinges on Spit and Seat Belts

Posted By on Wed, May 1, 2019 at 2:59 PM

Rep. Kevin Christie (D-Hartford) inspecting a saliva testing device in the House Judiciary Committee - TAYLOR DOBBS
  • Taylor Dobbs
  • Rep. Kevin Christie (D-Hartford) inspecting a saliva testing device in the House Judiciary Committee
Increasingly in the Statehouse, the topic of marijuana regulation has been inseparable from road safety policy. Gov. Phil Scott has demanded a roadside testing protocol for cannabis before the state allows retail pot sales — a demand that some lawmakers say is impossible to meet because roadside tests aren't reliable.

But on Wednesday, the conversation about the pot bill left the topic of cannabis entirely. House Transportation Committee chair Curt McCormack (D-Burlington) is trying to tack a new seat belt law onto S.54, the bill that would establish a regulated marijuana market in Vermont.

McCormack wants to make Vermont’s seat belt law a “primary enforcement” matter, meaning officers could stop drivers for not wearing a belt. Currently, seat belts are required by law, but police can only ticket drivers for a violation as a “secondary” offense during a traffic stop; drivers cannot legally be pulled over for just a seat belt infraction.

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Tuesday, April 16, 2019

One Dead After Shootout in Burlington's Old North End

Posted By on Tue, Apr 16, 2019 at 7:37 PM

Police interview witnesses on North Willard Street. - DEREK BROUWER
  • Derek Brouwer
  • Police interview witnesses on North Willard Street.
A 23-year-old man was killed and another man was injured during a Tuesday afternoon shootout in Burlington's Old North End.

The two men shot each other in the driveway of a North Willard Street home, police said in a press release. Benzel Hampton was shot in the head and died. The other man, whom Burlington Police Chief Brandon del Pozo did not identify, was also shot but is expected to survive.

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Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Vermont Sues Companies That Distributed Opioids

Posted By on Tue, Mar 26, 2019 at 8:33 PM

OxyContin on a pharmacy shelf - DREAMSTIME
  • Dreamstime
  • OxyContin on a pharmacy shelf
The drug distributors were supposed to be gatekeepers in the opioid supply chain. Instead, they pushed through as many of the addictive pills into Vermont as they could, the Attorney General's Office said Tuesday.

Vermont AG T.J. Donovan filed suit in state court Tuesday against Cardinal Health and McKesson, two of the largest drug distributors who profited off the nationwide opioid epidemic.

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Thursday, March 21, 2019

Judge Allows Vermont's Opioid Lawsuit Against Purdue Pharma to Proceed

Posted By on Thu, Mar 21, 2019 at 5:49 PM

Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan - MARK DAVIS
  • Mark Davis
  • Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan
Vermont's lawsuit against Oxycontin maker Purdue Pharma will proceed after a judge denied the company's request to toss out the state's claim that Purdue used deceptive tactics to market the drug.

Chittenden County Superior Court Judge Helen Toor was unmoved by Purdue's argument, among others, that the suit should be dismissed because the opioid epidemic the drugmaker fueled isn't a "public nuisance" under Vermont law.

"It cannot be seriously argued that the impacts of opiate addiction in Vermont have not affected the general public," Toor wrote in a March 18 ruling.

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Friday, March 1, 2019

Cannabis
Vermont Senate Votes to Legalize Marijuana Sales, Setting Up House Fight

Posted By on Fri, Mar 1, 2019 at 2:07 PM

LUKE EASTMAN
  • Luke Eastman
The Vermont Senate gave final approval Friday to legislation that would establish a state-regulated retail marijuana market by April 2021.

The bill would impose a 16 percent tax on the sale of cannabis products, with potential for an additional 2 percent local option tax. A state Cannabis Control Board would be responsible for regulation and licensing of all stages of the supply chain for legal weed. The bill calls on the board to prioritize Vermont businesses owned by women and minorities as it considers license applications.

Licenses for growers would be issued by December 2020, and separate licenses for processing facilities, wholesalers and retailers would be phased in over the following months.

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