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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

'Late Show' Spoofs Weed Legalization in Vermont With Tourism Ad

Posted By on Wed, Jan 24, 2018 at 1:22 PM

Vermont IS tiny compared to the rest of the universe! - SCREENSHOT
  • screenshot
  • Vermont IS tiny compared to the rest of the universe!
Vermont Gov. Phil Scott pledged millions of dollars Tuesday to help attract new state residents, but it looks like "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" beat him to the punch.

The comedy show on Tuesday spoofed the state's recent decision to legalize marijuana with a satirical Vermont tourism ad. The two-minute clip touts legal weed, and encourages visitors to explore the outdoors in the Green Mountain State — "or just stay inside on the couch, laughing with your friends!"

"Ski Stowe Mountain," the narrator intones, "or spend hours staring at your hands, thinking about things!"
Typical stoned Vermonters, apparently - SCREENSHOT
  • Typical stoned Vermonters, apparently
This ad, though, is not state-sanctioned. Are any of those stock images or shots actually from Vermont? Not the mountain scene at "Stowe." And it's full of tired clichés about weed smokers, including a Grateful Dead reference and a description of getting high and thinking about the size of the universe (and food). But hey, it's worth a watch.

Check out the full video, titled "Like Pot? Visit Vermont!" here:

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Monday, January 22, 2018

Study: Health Department's Opiate Treatment System Is Succeeding

Posted By on Mon, Jan 22, 2018 at 3:42 PM

A kit with the overdose-reversing drug Narcan - COURTESY: DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
  • Courtesy: Department of Health
  • A kit with the overdose-reversing drug Narcan
The Vermont Department of Health’s four-year-old "hub and spoke" model for treating opiate addiction led to a 96 percent reduction in patients’ usage of the dangerous drugs, according to a report released Monday.

Authored by University of Vermont professor Richard Rawson, the study found that hub and spoke patients recorded an 89 percent decrease in emergency department visits after they received treatment and a 90 percent drop in police stops and arrests. By several measures, the report found that users receiving care in the treatment system were dramatically better off than users who were not receiving care.

Perhaps most encouragingly, none of the participants in treatment had overdosed in the three months leading up to the study interview, compared to 25 percent who had overdosed in the three months before entering treatment.

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With 'Mixed Emotions,' Scott Legalizes Marijuana in Vermont

Posted By on Mon, Jan 22, 2018 at 2:29 PM

Gov. Phil Scott - ALICIA FREESE
  • Alicia Freese
  • Gov. Phil Scott
Gov. Phil Scott signed a bill Monday that legalizes adult possession and consumption of marijuana in Vermont beginning on July 1.

His signature makes Vermont the first state to legalize pot by legislative action; other states used public votes on the issue.

The signing was not a surprise. Scott said last week that he planned to sign the bill privately before his Monday night deadline. The bill could also have become law if he hadn't signed or vetoed the legislation before the deadline.

Scott said in a statement Monday that he signed "with mixed emotions."

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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Pot Commission Wants Education Programs, More Study of Road Safety

Posted By on Tue, Jan 16, 2018 at 2:31 PM

Marijuana Advisory Commission cochairs Jake Perkinson (left) and Tom Little (standing) - FILE: JOHN WALTERS
  • File: John Walters
  • Marijuana Advisory Commission cochairs Jake Perkinson (left) and Tom Little (standing)
A commission tasked with studying the prospect of marijuana legalization in Vermont recommended on Tuesday that Vermont lawmakers create a separate panel that would set and maintain standards for testing stoned drivers.

During a presentation at the Statehouse, members of the Marijuana Advisory Commission also recommended education and prevention programs for young people, along with data collection to measure and track the effects of cannabis legalization on traffic deaths, youth drug use, substance use disorders and criminal activity.

Gov. Phil Scott created the commission by executive order last August. It's tasked with investigating three primary areas: taxation and regulation, education and prevention, and highway safety.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Vermont Senate Sends Marijuana Legalization Bill to Governor

Posted By on Wed, Jan 10, 2018 at 1:48 PM

  • Luke Eastman
Updated at 3:26 p.m.

The Vermont Senate voted Wednesday to legalize marijuana in the state, starting in July.

The legislation, which passed the Vermont House last week and won approval in the Senate by a voice vote, now goes to Gov. Phil Scott’s desk. The first-term Republican has said he would sign it into law. That would make Vermont the first state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana through legislative action, rather than a referendum.

The Senate made quick work of the bill Wednesday afternoon, approving it with virtually no discussion, just minutes after convening for the day. The institution has debated the subject at length in recent years — voting in 2016 and 2017 to legalize the drug.

In brief remarks on the Senate floor Wednesday, Senate President Pro Tempore Tim Ashe (D/P-Chittenden) thanked colleagues who opposed the legislation but nevertheless worked to improve the bill.

Later Wednesday, he characterized the vote as “a step in a process to a more rational system.”

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Thursday, January 4, 2018

Vermont House Votes to Legalize Marijuana

Posted By on Thu, Jan 4, 2018 at 6:44 PM

Rep. Cynthia Browning (D-Arlington) advocates Thursday on the House floor for limits on the cultivation of marijuana. - JEB WALLACE-BRODEUR
  • Jeb Wallace-Brodeur
  • Rep. Cynthia Browning (D-Arlington) advocates Thursday on the House floor for limits on the cultivation of marijuana.
The Vermont House on Thursday voted 81 to 63 to legalize possession of marijuana for recreational use.

The early evening vote capped a daylong debate, during which a flurry of last-minute amendments and procedural tactics had legalization proponents rooting against establishment of a retail pot market and opponents advocating for one.

The bill now returns to the Vermont Senate, which, like the House, passed a version of the legislation last year. If the Senate approves it without changes, the bill could land on Gov. Phil Scott’s desk within weeks. The Republican, who vetoed a similar version last year, has said he would sign it this time.

If the bill becomes law, possession of up to an ounce of weed would be legal in Vermont for those 21 and older, starting in July. The legislation also allows possession of four immature and two mature pot plants.

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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

On Opening Day, Vermont Legislature Advances Marijuana Legalization

Posted By on Wed, Jan 3, 2018 at 5:09 PM

  • Luke Eastman
Vermont lawmakers took quick action toward legalizing marijuana Wednesday, mere hours after the opening gavel of the 2018 legislative session.

Members of the House Judiciary Committee approved a minor change to a bill that would legalize possession of up to an ounce of marijuana for those 21 and older — and the cultivation of two mature and four immature pot plants. It would take effect in July.

The move sets up a vote on the House floor Thursday and, if the bill passes, a Senate vote as early as next week. Gov. Phil Scott, a Republican, has said he would sign such a measure into law if it reached his desk in its current form.

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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Chittenden State's Attorney Calls for Safe Injection Sites

Posted By on Wed, Nov 29, 2017 at 10:05 AM

  • Sean Metcalf
Chittenden County State’s Attorney Sarah George is throwing her weight behind an effort to create supervised injection facilities for street drug users.

“I am confident this will save people's lives,” George said, during an interview Monday ahead of a public announcement Wednesday morning. “That’s good enough for me.”

These facilities, George suggested, will help Vermont address its opioid epidemic, which caused an unprecedented number of overdose fatalities in the state last year.

Safe injection facilities provide users with clean needles and medical supervision. Users arrive with their own drugs, without risking arrest.

The endorsement from Chittenden County's top prosecutor could help galvanize a legislative effort to establish such facilities in Vermont. Lawmakers introduced bills in both the House and Senate last January, but the legislation languished.

 George said she was initially skeptical when a deputy told her about the concept last February. “I had never heard of them before, [and] frankly, I was pretty turned off by the idea,” George recalled.

Despite her qualms, the new state’s attorney assembled a commission of medical professionals, law enforcement and other stakeholders to study the idea. Following the commission's recommendation, George said she believes the state should legalize safe injection sites.

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Friday, November 24, 2017

Québec Unveils Marijuana Legalization Plan

Posted By on Fri, Nov 24, 2017 at 12:02 PM

A hemp field in Middlebury - TERRI HALLENBECK
  • A hemp field in Middlebury
Facing a July 1 national deadline to legalize marijuana, Québec lawmakers recently unveiled a set of proposed rules that are generally seen as restrictive.

While the federal Canadian legislation would allow people to grow small amounts of marijuana at home, Québec wouldn't allow it, under draft legislation written by the province's ruling Liberal Party.
Instead, the Québec government would retain total control of recreational marijuana sales, much like it controls alcohol sales in its ubiquitous SAQ stores. The province aims to have 15 marijuana stores open by July and as many as 150 within two years. It will also sell marijuana online. The province has not set a price.

The federal government has mandated nationwide marijuana legalization by July 1, while leaving details to the country's provinces. Like Vermont, Québec already has legal medical marijuana and is struggling to develop a framework for broader legalization.

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Friday, November 10, 2017

Massachusetts to Hire a Cannabis Inspector

Posted By on Fri, Nov 10, 2017 at 12:21 PM

This could be you - DREAMSTIME
  • Dreamstime
  • This could be you
Looks like legal weed is already sprouting new state job opportunities in Massachusetts.

The Bay State plans to hire a cannabis inspector to work in its Department of Agricultural Resources. The November 3 job posting is open until the position is filled, but those applying in the first 14 days will get precedence.

“This inspector position will enforce the laws and regulations involving hemp and overlapping laws and regulations that impact the cultivation of marijuana,” the posting reads.

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