Lt. Governor’s Statement on Passage of Cannabis Regulation Bill, S.54
I am really pleased that after having introduced some of the first cannabis legalization bills over 20 years ago, we are finally achieving a tax and regulate system with some of the strictest controls on corporate ownership and added protections and resources for youth prevention. This comprehensive and forward thinking bill addresses the historical harms of the war on drugs, which disproportionately affects communities of color, including here in Vermont. We acknowledge the bill is not perfect - no bill is - but after many years of work it sets up a system that will benefit Vermonters. I am pleased there is clear language to uplift minority and women owned cannabis operations and I wish there had been more support for small producers as the backbone of the upcoming above board industry.
It’s important that a related bill, S.234, also passed the Senate today. That bill will automatically expunge the criminal records of over 10,000 people convicted of possessing two ounces or less of marijuana. The bill also decriminalizes possession of between one and two ounces of marijuana. This will have a positive impact on people of color who are six times more likely to be arrested for possession of marijuana than white people.