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Drugs

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Cannabis
Vermont AG Issues Weed Law Guidance for the Workplace

Posted By on Thu, Jun 14, 2018 at 7:24 PM

LUKE EASTMAN
  • Luke Eastman
Under certain circumstances, Vermont employers will still be allowed to drug test their workers for marijuana once recreational weed is legalized on July 1, according to guidance released on Thursday by Attorney General T.J. Donovan.

The pot law, known as Act 86, “did not change Vermont’s existing laws strictly regulating when and how employers may drug test,” the guidance reads.

The 17-page document spells out the rights of employers and employees once weed is legalized. The general takeaway? Not much has changed. Donovan’s office said in a press release that it created the guide in response to queries from the business community.

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Cannabis
Weed-Laced Chocolates Sicken Inn at Shelburne Farms Employees

Posted By on Thu, Jun 14, 2018 at 12:26 PM

The Inn at Shelburne Farms - FILE: STEPHEN MEASE
  • File: Stephen Mease
  • The Inn at Shelburne Farms
Two Inn at Shelburne Farms employees were taken to the hospital Wednesday after they ate chocolate marijuana edibles left behind by two guests, police said.

Shelburne police and rescue responded to the high-end inn around 10:20 a.m. after someone reported that an ill employee “was lying in the parking lot.” The unidentified employees were taken to the University of Vermont Medical Center for evaluation, Shelburne police said in a press release.

Cops said the edibles looked like Whoppers malted milk balls.

“If a person does possess marijuana edibles,” police warned, “please make sure the edibles are kept secure and out of reach of children and unwilling participants.”

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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Cannabis
Dozens Show Up to Wipe Out Chittenden County Cannabis Convictions

Posted By on Tue, Jun 12, 2018 at 8:37 PM

Two attendees receive assistance filling out their petitions. - SARA TABIN
  • Sara Tabin
  • Two attendees receive assistance filling out their petitions.
Patrick Jackson wants to be a pharmacy technician. Instead, the 28-year-old is working as a cook to pay his bills, a life choice he says he made, in part, because his two marijuana convictions — one in 2012 and one in 2013 — have been holding him back from finding a job he really likes.

Jackson took his chance to set his record straight on Tuesday, when Chittenden County State's Attorney Sarah George held an Expungement Day at the Edward J. Costello Courthouse on Cherry Street. Lawyers at the event walked attendees through the process of filing a petition to get misdemeanor marijuana possession convictions wiped off their records.

"I appreciated all the help they are giving me to get this off, so I can have a fully clean record, back to where I started when I was born," Jackson grinned as he spoke with Seven Days.

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Saturday, May 12, 2018

Cannabis
Scenes From the First Vermont Cannabis Convention

Posted By on Sat, May 12, 2018 at 10:07 PM

Enthusiasm was high.
  • Enthusiasm was high.
So abundant were the CBD-infused treats Saturday at the Vermont Cannabis & Hemp Convention that even the dogs were getting in on the action.

Well, one anyway: Maple, a Spinone Italiano, sat quietly with her owner, Rachael Henne, at the table for RopaNa LLC, a CBD company from White River Junction. When Henne retrieved a vial of CBD, which is heralded for its supposed anti-anxiety and anti-inflammatory properties, Maple licked voraciously from the dropper.

The pooch has anxiety, said Henne, and needed the stuff to cope with the buzzing crowd inside the DoubleTree by Hilton in South Burlington. A vet recommended Maple take Xanax, but Henne said she knew the healing power of CBD — and it's worked.

"Every time we take the bottle out, even for ourselves, she gets really excited and runs over," said Henne, whose company name means "heal oneself" in Sanskrit. And, at least to this observer, Maple was certainly chill.

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Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Convicted Drug Dealer Charged in Brothers' Fatal Overdoses

Posted By on Wed, May 2, 2018 at 2:27 PM

Left to right: Dennis, Jerry, Penny and  Sean Thibault.  The young men were Penny and Jerry's children. - COURTESY OF PENNY THIBAULT
  • Courtesy Of Penny Thibault
  • Left to right: Dennis, Jerry, Penny and Sean Thibault. The young men were Penny and Jerry's children.
A convicted drug dealer has been charged with providing the fentanyl that killed two brothers in Burlington in 2015, police said.

Robert Robidoux, 34, of Richmond, is charged with selling a drug, death resulting, in the deaths of Sean and Dennis Thibault. The offense carries a 20-year maximum sentence. He's also charged with selling heroin.

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Friday, April 27, 2018

Cannabis
Walters: Effort to Revive Full Cannabis Legalization Flames Out

Posted By on Fri, Apr 27, 2018 at 12:37 PM

Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman - FILE: JEB WALLACE-BRODEUR
  • File: Jeb Wallace-Brodeur
  • Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman
A last-ditch effort to fully legalize cannabis in Vermont has failed as quickly as it began.

On Friday morning, the Vermont House of Representatives voted 106 to 28 to indefinitely shelve H.167, a bill that had been rewritten as a vehicle for legalizing the commercial sale of marijuana with state oversight and taxation. Earlier this year, the legislature approved — and Gov. Phil Scott signed — a bill permitting personal cultivation and possession of small amounts of marijuana.

Supporters had hoped to at least keep the bill alive for more debate next week. After the vote, legalization supporter Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman said, "I think it's over for this year."

He blamed Statehouse politics for the defeat. "There is plenty of support to legalize," he said, "but sometimes in this building, the powers that be guide legislators to do something that isn't what their constituents want."

The vast majority of Democrats and Republicans voted to shelve the bill. Democratic leadership cited the rush of more pressing business in the remaining days before adjournment.

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Thursday, April 26, 2018

Cannabis
Tax-and-Regulate Pot Bill Revived in Vermont House

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

LUKE EASTMAN
  • 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
  • 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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Friday, March 30, 2018

Opinion
Walters: Vermont Senators Propose Opiate Tax to Fund Drug Abuse Treatment

Posted By on Fri, Mar 30, 2018 at 12:40 PM

Sen. Claire Ayer (D-Addison) - FILE: JEB WALLACE-BRODEUR
  • File: Jeb Wallace-Brodeur
  • Sen. Claire Ayer (D-Addison)
Two Democratic Vermont senators are putting together a proposal for a tax on prescription opioids. The proceeds would be used to bolster substance abuse intervention, treatment and recovery efforts, many of which are short-funded or are facing declines in current revenues.

Sen. Claire Ayer (D-Addison), chair of the Health and Welfare Committee, outlined the idea in a Friday morning committee hearing, which also featured testimony on how the proceeds of a tax might best be used.

Ayer said that she and Senate President Pro Tempore Tim Ashe (D/P-Chittenden) happened upon the idea in Governing magazine, which examined how states are trying to fund substance abuse programs. According to legislative fiscal analyst Nolan Langweil, several other states have considered an opiate tax, but none has enacted one.

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Thursday, March 29, 2018

Safe Injection Sites? Medical Professionals, Law Enforcement Weigh In

Posted By on Thu, Mar 29, 2018 at 10:25 PM

SEAN METCALF
  • Sean Metcalf
A panel of health and safety experts bandied about the perks and costs of safe injection sites Thursday, and seemingly ended up with more questions than answers: Would the costs lead to the necessary results? How much is saving a life worth?

About 70 people attended the presentation at the Dealer.com building in Burlington, where a seven-person panel made up of law enforcement, medical and government officials weighed the costs and benefits of such sites.

Last year, Chittenden County State's Attorney Sarah George, one of the panel members, created a commission to study the idea of bringing a site, where heroin users could go to inject drugs under supervision, to Burlington.

But in January, the Vermont Senate Judiciary committee decided not to take up a bill that would have enabled them this year.

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