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"What You Been Smoking?"

Speaking rhetorically about legalizing marijuana, I hear the repeating theme that VT needs to do it right, especially every time CO and WA is brought up.

But I have wondered of late, how it is that we can do it wrong?

The unbiased reports from CO especially, and WA all report the upshot results of marijuana legalization are very favorable by every indicator. Yet, except for the deranged Patrick 'Druggy' Kennedy's so-called Smart group it's not clear exactly what can go wrong.

Why do I sense that something is amiss in our legislature? Bob Fagelson is right, we should have led this thing, not scramble to claim some elusive, imaginary high-ground. The VT legislature, not the people's nonexistent referendum, is standing at the bottom of the hill, staring up as the sun comes up over CO and WA...and now Alaska.

I don't think for a minute we are doing the other state legislatures any favors by pretending we have the answers, or is seeking some holy grail of good marijuana lawmaking...And, is the limp, lukewarm bill that will inevitably distill down from both sides of the aisle, really worth the wait or the timid caution?

Regrettably, it turns Gov. Shumlin's proclamation "I will sign the bill" into meaningless mush.

What exactly is it about marijuana legalization the legislature is afraid of?
~ Vidda

Full text of Dr. Fagelson’s letter: Letter Box
What you been smoking?
Editor of the Reformer:
POSTED: 02/25/2015 09:16:36 PM EST
What in the heck is wrong with our Legislature and legislators in Vermont? I read that the folks up there said there will not be legalization of marijuana this session. Are you kidding me? We live in what is arguably the most progressive state in the Union. One of our senators is a socialist for heaven's sake. We should have led the nation in this effort. Yet, our legislators want to tread lightly. Why?
The state is in debt. They want to raise our taxes, even though we are one of the highest taxed states. Our cost per student in school is one of the highest, if not the highest in the country. We stand to make millions on legalized pot. Not only that, but we would be an island of legalized weed in the region, with the additional millions of monies that will be brought in by out-of-staters. And make no mistake about it: New Hampshire, Maine, and New York may very well decide to legalize it and there will go those dollars.
Pot has been legal for over a year in Colorado, and what are the results? Crime has gone down; DWIs have gone down; and teen-age pot smoking has even gone down. And they are raking in tens of millions of dollars. So what is our Legislature waiting for?
Bob Fagelson, Brattleboro, Feb. 19


Comments | 9

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Right. Every business person knows that the first to do something has the advantage. Legalization would allow all sorts of businesses to get a jump on surrounding states.

I'm against a 1% added sales tax on regular purchases in town. I'm very much in favor of a local option tax of 10+% of marijuana and related products. Our location makes us the number one spot in the state to benefit from tourist purchases.

Reading about the other states is useful, and we can learn from them. But waiting isn't smart. What we learn is they are making more money. Reefer Madness t'is not. They are holding conventions that attract people to town, making inroads with medical uses, enhancing foods, and more. The taxes roll in.

We need police and fire facilities, we need infrastructure improvements, we need property taxes to drop, and we need to attract and grow businesses. Vermont leading the region would allow us, perhaps temporarily, to maximize tax revenues and pay for some of these things.


And temporary it will be

And like every other tax that Vermont has levied, thinking it would pay for everything, it will soon outspend the "Pot Tax" The question is w"What have they been smoking" in Montpelier to think they can continue to presume the future of revenue into a bottomless pit of spending.
This is a poor excuse to sell legalization. You'd be better off just trying to promote Liberty. But not too many that live in this state can even wrap their minds around that concept.


Must you always dine on ashes?

I've never known anyone who proposed a tax that “would pay for everything.”

Everyone knows that taxes collected are spliced into a broader revenue and expenditures chart to help with the total budget.

Damn boy.

Your problem is, mr. mike, no one needs to ask you “what you been smoking?”

You can’t even think straight sober, or whatever the hell it is you call wrapping ‘your’ mind around a concept..


Say What You Will.

Slam me all you want Vidda. But the attempt to use "tax revenue" as a way to appease those that truly understand the implications of taxing vices is still a lame excuse to push your agenda. All it does is allow Montpeculiar to play musical taxes. Just like the new "Sugary Soft Drink Tax".

The Vermont Legislature...They've never seen a tax they don't like.


wow, you sound like.....

The reasoning reminds me of the advocates that try tried to get a "theme park" (I believe it was Universal Studios) build in my area over ten years ago. This project was spearheaded by one of the casinos. It was really farcical the logic employed by the advocates. When the casinos came, we were told the monies would go towards education and benefit the children. Today, well, I don't need to tell you gambling casino are beyond the saturation point and they are not doing great.
Your last paragraph sounds like the rationale used to get a number of other bad ideas brought to reality like casinos, nuclear power plants, and such.


We've jailed people for

We've jailed people for decades for pot, and now we choose to ignore history and have the white man legalize it so we can make some money. How about giving the tax revenue to the millions of people unjustly thrown in jail for selling pot? Yeah, I thought not.

After decades of polluting our environment, a billion dollar company (VY) threw us a measly $10 million dollars. Let's not get real money from them, instead let's legalize the sale of pot. Unbelievable.

Why not tax heroin? Guarantee it's potency and that it's not laced with something that's going to kill you. Nope, we'd rather make money than save lives.

And because we never learn, we can continue to make money off tourists, because that's all we know how to do around here for the most part. At least they'll get the munchies and eat at our restaurants. You really want Connecticut soccer mom's with, "I'd like to speak to a manager" haircuts running around Brattleboro in huge SUV's belching pot smoke? Or youngsters driving up from NY and Boston and NH to get high in Brattleboro and then leave? Buy heroin and pot all in the same town, the convenience will be a big selling point.

One year ago we acknowledged that our state has an awful drug problem and now all people can see is pot tax revenue. Why don't we get smart and create housing and jobs and opportunity instead of hoping that pot revenue will save the day?


Prohibition fails

Heroin is a little tiny bit different than marijuana, from what I've read. I call strawman!

Legalizing marijuana opens doors to new businesses, stores, bakeries, farmers, growing supplies, seminars, writers, orchestral events, medical practitioners, and other kinda good jobs. Keeping things illegal prevents people from those jobs and starting those businesses. Tourists are and have been an aspect of our economy since the town began. I offer the Hotel Brooks as exhibit A.

Revenue can be used to create housing and jobs. Money saved by locals growing their own, too, could then be spent on other things.

All we'd be taxing would be existing, black market participants that currently enjoy tax free vice.


Saying we'll be like Colorado

Saying we'll be like Colorado is problematic. I'd like to see the research about the number of jobs created and tax revenue for Vermont specifically. Saying it will create new businesses is nice, a few pot shops in Bratt, several large grow operations staffed with a handful of people. Maybe a few hundred new jobs across the state. But we have no idea.

Medical pot has been available for 15 years in VT. Most people who felt like it got their medical card years ago. Where is that revenue?

I'm all for legalization, it's making assumptions that gets me as well as the irony that we have a huge drug problem around here. Waving the job creation flag doesn't work for anyone, the amount of jobs created is just too small from what I've read.

Wait until there are 500 dispensaries in the state, will be interesting to see how they dole out licenses.

If we want to grow Brattleboro, create another Retreat. We're great at therapy so why not build on that?


Where did “save the day”+“pay for everything” notions come from?

The concepts in some of the the comments here express that marijuana taxes will “create housing and jobs and opportunity instead of hoping that pot revenue will save the day” or that we think that “it would pay for everything.”

I’m not sure where these “save the day” and “pay for everything” notions come from?

I think that media and public who say this are not accountants.

No one I know thinks pot/ taxes and jobs will “save the day” and “pay for everything.” But you hear that a lot and it is entirely misleading.

Now for you these “save the day” and “pay for everything” people and media, say this after me:

“Vidda says pot taxes/revenue/jobs will bring a hellava lot of money”

Okay, okay. Now stop there. It’s at this point where you drop the “save the day” and “pay for everything” part.

Now what we’re left with is called reality.

“Vidda says pot taxes/revenue/jobs will bring a hellava lot of money” He didn’t say everything, didn’t say it will save the day, so that when he says a hellava money, he means a “hellava lot of money.” !!!

Personally, I don’t give a tiger’s ass whether it covers “everything” or not, but I’m damn glad it can significantly add to the cookie jar!

Now, hold on here! Don’t get too carried away…

.I didn’t say that the “hellava lot of money” was the only reason to legalize…because there are obviously other good reasons to legalize it.

(We’ve been listening to the alleged bad reasons for so damn long now, that I’m sure many of you will forgive me if I don’t enumerate the alleged bad reasons to legalize it. You can call Patrick Kennedy for that.)

We on the same page or what?


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