Vermont decriminalizes pot… sort of

posted at 11:01 am on June 9, 2013 by Jazz Shaw

This is definitely the sort of story which will bring many people to their feet with a rousing cry of, “wait… you mean it wasn’t already legal to smoke pot in Vermont?

Apparently it wasn’t. And even after a new law signed by the governor on Thursday, it’s still not legal legal. But it has been decriminalized. (Hat tip to Doug over at OTB.)

Vermont has become the 17th state to get rid of criminal penalties for the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

Gov. Peter Shumlin signed a measure into law Thursday.

The law replaces criminal penalties with civil fines similar to a traffic ticket for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana or five grams of hashish.

So it’s still against the law to smoke or have in your possession small amounts (under an ounce) of weed. But instead of the 6 to 24 months at the Crowbar Motel which you could previously get for it, you’ll be slapped with the equivalent of a traffic ticket, pay a fine, and not wind up with a felony on your record. This is in contrast to certain places in the northwest which have moved (or are moving) to make it strictly legal for recreational use. Another possible example of the latter case may be coming in Pennsylvania.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (KDKA) – Add Pennsylvania to the list of states where residents could be allowed to possess and smoke marijuana legally.

Democrat State Sen. Daylin Leach, who represents Montgomery and Delaware counties, announced plans to introduce legislation that would legalize marijuana in Pennsylvania.

The bill would legalize marijuana for adults over the age of 21, and regulated just like alcohol is. It would still be illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana, behave badly while publicly intoxicated, or sell pot to minors.

I know there’s still a lot of resistance to this in conservative circles, but I’ve long since stopped seeing any net benefit in harsh marijuana laws, and this is looking more and more like one of those societal shifts which has pretty much reached the tipping point of inevitability. Locking up millions of people for pot possession is massively expensive in both direct and indirect costs, and it’s rather hypocritical to treat it that much differently than alcohol. If we’re willing to give people leave to take responsibility for the consequences of their own actions when it comes to drinking, it just doesn’t look like that much of a stretch to say the same thing about weed.

(Does anyone still call it weed? I was just informed the other day that nobody says “joint” any more either. I’ve fallen behind the times on drug terminology over the last few decades.)

If people are going to sell it anyway, we may as well tax it an pay off a couple of other bills. But maybe that’s just me. The “war on drugs” was a losing proposition from the beginning, it seems. And if we can reduce the incentive for cartels to crash over the borders to supply a population of currently criminal customers, it may deliver some other benefits as well.

The only minor bone I have to pick with this – and hence the title – is the way we use the word decriminalize in such contexts. A while back I looked up the definition of the word in one of those online legal dictionaries and it seems to mean just what it sounds like.

decriminalization n. the repeal or amendment (undoing) of statutes which made certain acts criminal, so that those acts no longer are crimes or subject to prosecution.

What they did in Vermont, as well as New York and other places, isn’t really decriminalization as such, at least to my way of thinking. It’s still illegal. It’s just been moved down to a low rent class of crime without such stiff penalties. Of course, I’m not sure if there’s a better word available for that. Your thoughts?


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

I know there’s still a lot of resistance to this in conservative circles, but I’ve long since stopped seeing any net benefit in harsh marijuana laws, and this is looking more and more like one of those societal shifts which has pretty much reached the tipping point of inevitability.

I don’t give a Fluke about your opinion on the issue, you don’t live in Michigan. This is another issue which each state needs to decide for itself. I’m sick and tired of every single issue under the sun being nationalized. You worry about New York, I’ll worry about Michigan.

NotCoach on June 9, 2013 at 11:09 AM

I’m amazed NY hasn’t fully legalized the stuff so Albany can tax it out the wazoo.

Liam on June 9, 2013 at 11:12 AM

Dave’s Not Here.

Del Dolemonte on June 9, 2013 at 11:19 AM

If you get fined, its not LEGAL, you jack-asses!

TX-96 on June 9, 2013 at 11:19 AM

“any net benefit in harsh marijuana laws”

There SHOULD be laws against harsh marijuana….

notropis on June 9, 2013 at 11:19 AM

I’m amazed NY hasn’t fully legalized the stuff so Albany can tax it out the wazoo.

Liam on June 9, 2013 at 11:12 AM

….which of course defeats the main purpose people want it legal. To take the CRIMINAL sale of it due to the money they make selling it. Tax-it-out-the-wazoo and it will simply go back to the criminal sale of it, cheaper.

TX-96 on June 9, 2013 at 11:20 AM

Puleez! MJ possession under an ounce became an infraction in CA at least 25 years ago – you know, back when the state was conservative.

Blake on June 9, 2013 at 11:21 AM

NotCoach on June 9, 2013 at 11:09 AM

Easy, NotCoach. I don’t see anywhere that Jazz recommended Federal action. I agree – this should be a state issue.

ConservativeinCO on June 9, 2013 at 11:28 AM

But instead of the 6 to 24 months at the Crowbar Motel which you could previously get for it, you’ll be slapped with the equivalent of a traffic ticket, pay a fine, and not wind up with a felony on your record. This is in contrast to certain places in the northwest which have moved (or are moving) to make it strictly legal for recreational use.

North Colorado would like to have a word with you.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/06/09/colorado-county-proposes-51st-state-north-colorado/

VegasRick on June 9, 2013 at 11:29 AM

I’m stunned,….Vermont you say!!
(sarc)

canopfor on June 9, 2013 at 11:29 AM

So its really been criminimalized?

Yes, you can add that to your urban dictionary.

ROCnPhilly on June 9, 2013 at 11:32 AM

ConservativeinCO on June 9, 2013 at 11:28 AM

No, no… it’s okay. Actually, my contract specifically says that part of my job is to give NotCoach reasons to vent. Keeps his blood pressure low afterward.

Jazz Shaw on June 9, 2013 at 11:32 AM

So its really been criminimalized?

Yes, you can add that to your urban dictionary.

ROCnPhilly on June 9, 2013 at 11:32 AM

I am totally stealing that without crediting you…

Jazz Shaw on June 9, 2013 at 11:33 AM

No, no… it’s okay. Actually, my contract specifically says that part of my job is to give NotCoach reasons to vent. Keeps his blood pressure low afterward.

Jazz Shaw on June 9, 2013 at 11:32 AM

Good job!

VegasRick on June 9, 2013 at 11:34 AM

I am totally stealing that without crediting you…

Jazz Shaw on June 9, 2013 at 11:33 AM

Oh so like you…

ROCnPhilly on June 9, 2013 at 11:35 AM

It would still be illegal to… behave badly while publicly intoxicated[.]

Not sure what “behaving badly” means, but anything like assault or a disturbance of the peace that would be illegal when a person is drunk and/or stoned would be illegal when they were sober, and vice versa.

Tzetzes on June 9, 2013 at 11:36 AM

No, no… it’s okay. Actually, my contract specifically says that part of my job is to give NotCoach reasons to vent. Keeps his blood pressure low afterward.

Jazz Shaw on June 9, 2013 at 11:32 AM

You aren’t holding up your end of the bargain.

NotCoach on June 9, 2013 at 11:37 AM

“any net benefit in harsh marijuana laws”

There SHOULD be laws against harsh marijuana….

notropis on June 9, 2013 at 11:19 AM

Mexican dirt-weed dealers hardest hit.

Tzetzes on June 9, 2013 at 11:38 AM

It would still be illegal to… behave badly while publicly intoxicated[.]

Not sure what “behaving badly” means, but anything like assault or a disturbance of the peace that would be illegal when a person is drunk and/or stoned would be illegal when they were sober, and vice versa.

Tzetzes on June 9, 2013 at 11:36 AM

I’m pretty sure this is what Jazz had in mind.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/06/09/warrant-issued-for-operator-in-philadelphia-building-collapse-deaths/

VegasRick on June 9, 2013 at 11:39 AM

But instead of the 6 to 24 months at the Crowbar Motel which you could previously get for it, you’ll be slapped with the equivalent of a traffic ticket, pay a fine, and not wind up with a felony on your record. This is in contrast to certain places in the northwest which have moved (or are moving) to make it strictly legal for recreational use.

North Colorado would like to have a word with you.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/06/09/colorado-county-proposes-51st-state-north-colorado/

VegasRick on June 9, 2013 at 11:29 AM

It’s not impossible for something like this to happen, but I think it’s highly improbable. People wanted to do this with the southern counties in AZ, and that fizzled quickly.

TDSE on June 9, 2013 at 11:41 AM

So if national laws against pot can be criminimalized, why not prescription painkillers and cocaine as well?

What exactly is the local constabulary’s duty to enforce federal statute?

ROCnPhilly on June 9, 2013 at 11:41 AM

“Crime” is defined in law as a felony or misdemeanor. In Vermont, possession is a “violation,” like speeding. So it is illegal like speeding, but not “criminal.”

Dan Tanna on June 9, 2013 at 11:42 AM

“Crime” is defined in law as a felony or misdemeanor. In Vermont, possession is a “violation,” like speeding. So it is illegal like speeding, but not “criminal.”

Dan Tanna on June 9, 2013 at 11:42 AM

We call those “civil infractions” in Michigan.

NotCoach on June 9, 2013 at 11:45 AM

The crane operator in Philly who caused the other building next door to collapse and kill people turned himself in; he was high on marijuana.

So what do we do about that kind of thing? You can smell alcohol on a worker’s breath, but marijuana? And it’s not the mild stuff that made us giggle back in the day. It’s kinda psychadelic.

PattyJ on June 9, 2013 at 11:45 AM

Most LIV’s think Obaamacare = Free Healthcare…and Potheads think Pot is now legal.

Of course these are the same folks that believe Il Duce when he sez Trust us…

workingclass artist on June 9, 2013 at 11:47 AM

So what do we do about that kind of thing? You can smell alcohol on a worker’s breath, but marijuana? And it’s not the mild stuff that made us giggle back in the day. It’s kinda psychadelic.

PattyJ on June 9, 2013 at 11:45 AM

Still, it’s operating a vehicle under the influence. Pot odor is very pungent and as easy to detect as alcohol. And the Cinnabon wrappers are a dead giveaway.

ROCnPhilly on June 9, 2013 at 11:50 AM

The crane operator in Philly who caused the other building next door to collapse and kill people turned himself in; he was high on marijuana.

So what do we do about that kind of thing? You can smell alcohol on a worker’s breath, but marijuana? And it’s not the mild stuff that made us giggle back in the day. It’s kinda psychadelic.

PattyJ on June 9, 2013 at 11:45 AM

Yep!

Stays in the Fat for quite a while as well…shows up in the tests.

http://goaskalice.columbia.edu/marijuana-how-long-does-it-hang-out-body

workingclass artist on June 9, 2013 at 11:52 AM

It’s not impossible for something like this to happen, but I think it’s highly improbable. People wanted to do this with the southern counties in AZ, and that fizzled quickly.

TDSE on June 9, 2013 at 11:41 AM

It is an interesting concept. If one state could pull it off I think you would see about 20 others try to do it.

VegasRick on June 9, 2013 at 11:53 AM

It’s not impossible for something like this to happen, but I think it’s highly improbable. People wanted to do this with the southern counties in AZ, and that fizzled quickly.

TDSE on June 9, 2013 at 11:41 AM

Back when I lived in Nebraska, there was a similar movement – to give Omaha to Iowa.

notropis on June 9, 2013 at 12:00 PM

It is an interesting concept. If one state could pull it off I think you would see about 20 others try to do it.

VegasRick on June 9, 2013 at 11:53 AM

Maybe, but I figure there has to be some type of approval from the federal government, I’d think Congress, and I just never see that happening. Too messy.

TDSE on June 9, 2013 at 12:01 PM

In Montana we passed a ballot initiative that pretty much legalized pot, but then the Feds arrested all the major providers and put them in federal lockup. After that the state legislature modified the law, telling us that we didn’t mean to do what we had done. Apparently an alcohol serving casino on every street corner is OK, but a medical marijuana store here and there is a danger to public safety and morality.

claudius on June 9, 2013 at 12:02 PM

The crane operator in Philly who caused the other building next door to collapse and kill people turned himself in; he was high on marijuana.

So what do we do about that kind of thing? You can smell alcohol on a worker’s breath, but marijuana? And it’s not the mild stuff that made us giggle back in the day. It’s kinda psychadelic.

PattyJ on June 9, 2013 at 11:45 AM

If he confessed to being “high” then you prosecute him. Surely there are laws about operating such equipment under the influence. If he merely tested positive for using in the last month or so, you’ve got a problem as he may not have been “high”. This is the challenge and I believe given the opportunity American technological innovation will succeed in providing appropriate tests that show whether someone has been smoking in the last 3 hours. When prohibition was repealed I doubt they had a test to detect drunk driving – that came later and so will valid tests for being “high”.

rhombus on June 9, 2013 at 12:05 PM

What they did in Vermont, as well as New York and other places, isn’t really decriminalization as such, at least to my way of thinking. It’s still illegal. It’s just been moved down to a low rent class of crime without such stiff penalties. Of course, I’m not sure if there’s a better word available for that. Your thoughts?

You’re in the murky area between criminal offenses and the so-called civil offenses. Civil offenses is a made up category that offends the rational structure of the law in order to achieve the practical goal of removing minor offenses from the procedures and protections that accompany criminal charges. The main distinguishing feature of the “civil offense” is the absence of imprisonment as a potential punishment. They are in every rational way criminal in nature, but they are mis-categorized as
“civil” to make the process adjudicating them simpler and more convenient for the government.

novaculus on June 9, 2013 at 12:08 PM

In Montana we passed a ballot initiative that pretty much legalized pot, but then the Feds arrested all the major providers and put them in federal lockup. After that the state legislature modified the law, telling us that we didn’t mean to do what we had done. Apparently an alcohol serving casino on every street corner is OK, but a medical marijuana store here and there is a danger to public safety and morality.

claudius on June 9, 2013 at 12:02 PM

Sounds like you’ve got real legislators of principle there in Montana. snicker

rhombus on June 9, 2013 at 12:08 PM

The crane operator in Philly who caused the other building next door to collapse and kill people turned himself in; he was high on marijuana. …
PattyJ on June 9, 2013 at 11:45 AM

Forks are dangerous weapons (somebody killed somebody else with a fork)…we need to ban them. Stat! /sarc

Ceteris Paribus on June 9, 2013 at 12:11 PM

….which of course defeats the main purpose people want it legal. To take the CRIMINAL sale of it due to the money they make selling it. Tax-it-out-the-wazoo and it will simply go back to the criminal sale of it, cheaper.

TX-96 on June 9, 2013 at 11:20 AM

There’s always a chance of that, I suppose, but how often do you buy (untaxed) moonshine? I suppose if you tax something at 500% then people are going to really start trying to evade the taxes (you’d think New York would understand that generally) but if it’s taxed comparably to alcohol, people aren’t going to risk serious penalties.

Or are they? Tax competition is what it is, doesn’t matter what product or service it is.

The crane operator in Philly who caused the other building next door to collapse and kill people turned himself in; he was high on marijuana.

So what do we do about that kind of thing? You can smell alcohol on a worker’s breath, but marijuana? And it’s not the mild stuff that made us giggle back in the day. It’s kinda psychadelic.

PattyJ on June 9, 2013 at 11:45 AM

That’s no more an argument against legalizing marijuana than against legalizing alcohol. People are going to do bad things; people show up to work drunk and don’t get caught unless something horrible like this happens, but we don’t say that alcohol should be made illegal just because someone made a bad choice.

Andy in Colorado on June 9, 2013 at 12:20 PM

Don’t necessarily get caught, is what I should have said.

Andy in Colorado on June 9, 2013 at 12:25 PM

…can I exhale yet?

KOOLAID2 on June 9, 2013 at 12:33 PM

NotCoach on June 9, 2013 at 11:09 AM

Why are you invested in Marijuana prohibition in Michigan?

libfreeordie on June 9, 2013 at 12:34 PM

his is the challenge and I believe given the opportunity American technological innovation will succeed in providing appropriate tests that show whether someone has been smoking in the last 3 hours. When prohibition was repealed I doubt they had a test to detect drunk driving – that came later and so will valid tests for being “high”.

rhombus on June 9, 2013 at 12:05 PM

The tech exists, but it requires a blood test.

libfreeordie on June 9, 2013 at 12:36 PM

Decriminalize it all ready. But for God’s sake – don’t allow it to be smoked on the street. If we don’t allow people to drink alchohol on the street (at least here in San Francisco), they shouldn’t be allowed to smoke it, either. I don’t give a hooey what people are doing in the confines of their own abode.

Alibali on June 9, 2013 at 12:37 PM

Decriminalization is a non-measure. The sale needs to be legalized, regulated and taxed. Decriminalization doesn’t do anything to prevent the black market which means consumers still directly contribute to violence south of the border and other forms of gang crime. Take the money out of their hands and into the hands of law abiding citizens and public coffers.

libfreeordie on June 9, 2013 at 12:40 PM

This is par for Vermont and it’s socialist/ultra-liberal regime. Don’t let this aberration be a model for all.

rplat on June 9, 2013 at 12:42 PM

Why are you invested in Marijuana prohibition in Michigan?

libfreeordie on June 9, 2013 at 12:34 PM

Do you live in Michigan? If not, why the Fluke do you care?

NotCoach on June 9, 2013 at 12:44 PM

it’s rather hypocritical to treat it that much differently than alcohol.

Actually, it isn’t. Alcohol and narcotics are two very different types of drugs. Years ago, I took a chemistry class for non-science majors and one of the things I found interesting was that there are differences in the molecules that make up drugs and alcohol. Narcotics have an extra atom in their make up and this extra atom affects perception. This means that a person on narcotics could be going 70 mph down the highway, come to the conclusion they could walk faster, then get out of the car to try it.

I think the only reason you don’t hear too many stories about high people dying in perception-based situations is that the legal status of pot forces most users to only smoke it in controlled situations, like their parents’ basement. With some of these states legalizing it now, it will be interesting to see what happens.

The other thing I wanted to say was that the GOP really missed the boat on this one. They should have been promoting this as a 10th amendment issue for years. That would have made it easier to promote the 10th amendment on other things, like health care.

Odysseus on June 9, 2013 at 1:06 PM

It’s not impossible for something like this to happen, but I think it’s highly improbable. People wanted to do this with the southern counties in AZ, and that fizzled quickly.

TDSE on June 9, 2013 at 11:41 AM

Actually it was only one county, Pima and then it was just the idiots running Tucson who wanted to secede.

RickB on June 9, 2013 at 1:12 PM

I’m okay with a state-by-state approach to this and tell the Feds to butt out. In general I’d like to see it legalized, regulated and taxed heavily.

JohnAGJ on June 9, 2013 at 1:17 PM

Ceteris Paribus on June 9, 2013 at 12:11 PM

because there is absolutely NO WAY the crane operator being stoned could’ve contributed to that accident.

/sarc

by the way, your original analogy was completely wrong. fail all around.

chasdal on June 9, 2013 at 1:21 PM

Years ago, I took a chemistry class for non-science majors and one of the things I found interesting was that there are differences in the molecules that make up drugs and alcohol. Narcotics have an extra atom in their make up and this extra atom affects perception. This means that a person on narcotics could be going 70 mph down the highway, come to the conclusion they could walk faster, then get out of the car to try it.

Odysseus on June 9, 2013 at 1:06 PM

No offense, especially since we probably agree more than not, but you should be getting your money back for that class. Extra atom???? What, so the chemical makeup of alcohol is just like the chemical makeup of any narcotic, except the narcotic has an extra atom? I call bull**** on that right there.

Nitrous oxide (NO2) makes you laugh. Nitrogen monoxide (NO), which has one fewer atom, makes you dead. You could also compare carbon dioxide with carbon monoxide. It’s silly to make a “single atom” difference comparison.

Um, and narcotics don’t make you jump out of a car at 70 mph because you think you can walk faster. That’s just silly. Even if you smoke some ultra-concentrated weed (I still call it that, by the way), you’re simply not that fundamentally different that you would think it’s a good idea to jump out of a car going 70. Marijuana is simply not hallucinogenic enough to screw you up that badly.

I think the only reason you don’t hear too many stories about high people dying in perception-based situations is that the legal status of pot forces most users to only smoke it in controlled situations, like their parents’ basement. With some of these states legalizing it now, it will be interesting to see what happens.

By making a statement like this, you show ignorance of who smokes weed. It’s not just people smoking in their parents’ basement. It’s a broad cross-section of society, and you don’t know this because people don’t advertise it, but there are many, many people who do.

Andy in Colorado on June 9, 2013 at 1:41 PM

Years ago, I took a chemistry class for non-science majors and one of the things I found interesting was that there are differences in the molecules that make up drugs and alcohol. Narcotics have an extra atom in their make up and this extra atom affects perception. This means that a person on narcotics could be going 70 mph down the highway, come to the conclusion they could walk faster, then get out of the car to try it.

Odysseus on June 9, 2013 at 1:06 PM

“I’ve done that, man!”

(Tommy Chong voice)

Del Dolemonte on June 9, 2013 at 2:03 PM

Do you live in Michigan? If not, why the Fluke do you care?

NotCoach on June 9, 2013 at 12:44 PM

I have friends and family who live in Michigan who may be effected by those laws. Also, I’m curious as to why you care about it.

libfreeordie on June 9, 2013 at 2:05 PM

I have friends and family who live in Michigan who may be effected by those laws. Also, I’m curious as to why you care about it.

libfreeordie on June 9, 2013 at 2:05 PM

If you don’t live in Michigan it’s none of your damn concern.

NotCoach on June 9, 2013 at 2:12 PM

If you don’t live in Michigan it’s none of your damn concern.

NotCoach on June 9, 2013 at 2:12 PM

I’ve seen Michigan; so i kinda understand how you feel…it’s awfully similar to NYC during the 1970′s…and not in a good way either.

BlaxPac on June 9, 2013 at 2:24 PM

it requires a blood test.

libfreeorgan on June 9, 2013 at 12:36 PM

…TROLLCOT this little diCk!

KOOLAID2 on June 9, 2013 at 3:56 PM

What they did in Vermont, as well as New York and other places, isn’t really decriminalization as such, at least to my way of thinking. It’s still illegal. It’s just been moved down to a low rent class of crime without such stiff penalties. Of course, I’m not sure if there’s a better word available for that. Your thoughts?

It has been decriminalized.

Infractions are not subject to criminal punishment, just fines. There may be some driving limitations imposed because of an infraction but not criminal punishment.

Pot is decriminalized when you can just pay your way out of it. Driving while intoxicated OTOH will result in very real criminal prosecution for some wayward pot-addicts.

Capitalist Hog on June 9, 2013 at 3:56 PM

That’s no more an argument against legalizing marijuana than against legalizing alcohol. People are going to do bad things; people show up to work drunk and don’t get caught unless something horrible like this happens, but we don’t say that alcohol should be made illegal just because someone made a bad choice.

Andy in Colorado on June 9, 2013 at 12:20 PM

What the hypocrites won’t admit is that they want your freedom restricted. There is no discussion beyond their inability or unwillingness to admit that.

I drink once or twice a year…maybe. I have vintage wines that I am sure I will NEVER drink. So I could care less about the preferences between drug-users. I’m partial to energy drinks; those will probably kill me faster than anything.

But I really appreciate my right to drink liquid-energy and bounce off the walls as long as I don’t bounce into you.

Hey anti-freedom phonies, your ideals don’t define my rights.

Capitalist Hog on June 9, 2013 at 4:05 PM

Andy in Colorado on June 9, 2013 at 1:41 PM

Sorry, it was about thirty years ago when I took that class. Perhaps I missed the exact terms and maybe the instructor was full of shit. However, you proved my point. A difference of one atom can drastically alter the effect the molecule has on a person. Your argument then boils down to “You’re wrong!” instead of posting evidence to the contrary. The part about smoking in the basement was an attempt at humor. Your indignation over that tells me you’re having an emotional reaction to my post rather than trying to show where I went wrong. Are you sure you’re not a liberal? :)

Odysseus on June 9, 2013 at 4:10 PM

Hey anti-freedom phonies, your ideals don’t define my rights.

Capitalist Hog on June 9, 2013 at 4:05 PM

I’m all for freedom. However, we’re living in a welfare state. Therefore, your behavior affects me. If you spend most of your minimum wage buying pot and your baby momma has to go on AFDC, it costs me money. Eliminate the welfare state and then we’ll talk about you being able to do whatever you want.

Odysseus on June 9, 2013 at 4:15 PM

Apparently the chief argument against pot legalization is that people on welfare will use it, and it will promote their persistent indolence. Conservatives usually argue that abuses by the few should not result in denial of a liberty to all. I’ve always been curious why they make an exception in this case.

Reggie1971 on June 9, 2013 at 4:42 PM

Jazz, you do not know what you are talking about. Possession is only one consideration with an illegal and dangerous substance. There is storage, delivery, sale, knowingly going to a storage, distribution, or production facility. It is illegal in any state to manufacture, deliver, grow or cultivate marijuana — or to possess any quantity. Knowingly maintaining or visiting a place where people are using, storing or selling any amount of marijuana is also illegal.
That is without considering minors, also often used as mules, as victim and penalizing offenders accordingly.
Finally, those of you who haven’t really thought through your carefree youthful crime spree days, … are punks.

We will always be a war with irresponsible people endangering others lives. It is the way of the world. I hope.

Just kidding, let’s encourage all kids, especially economically and intellectually deprived ones to smoke dope.

Observation on June 9, 2013 at 4:42 PM

Big deal! Nothing is illegal in Vermont. They have a scumbag for a Senator in Pat Leahy for curing out loud.

RdLake on June 9, 2013 at 5:04 PM

If you don’t live in Michigan it’s none of your damn concern.

NotCoach on June 9, 2013 at 2:12 PM

Your total arbitrary standard for not revealing why you care about an issue on a political discussion board says everything we need to know about the strength of your argument.

libfreeordie on June 9, 2013 at 5:08 PM

I do understand the libertarian position,and I lean towards their notion of freedom. But now, there is no test and I don’t think specific laws about marijuana intoxication.

If we get a good test and laws and education that it’s illegal, the same as alcohol, then I would support legalizing drugs other than alcohol.

PattyJ on June 9, 2013 at 5:14 PM

Good for Vermont. They should have just legalized it, IMO, but decriminalization is a step in the right direction.

FloatingRock on June 9, 2013 at 5:38 PM

Is the pic associated with this story one of Allahpundit?

Freddy on June 9, 2013 at 6:10 PM

Your total arbitrary standard for not revealing why you care about an issue on a political discussion board says everything we need to know about the strength of your argument.

libfreeordie on June 9, 2013 at 5:08 PM

I’m not arguing. I’m telling you to go Fluke yourself and to mind your own God damned business.

NotCoach on June 9, 2013 at 6:27 PM

North Colorado would like to have a word with you.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/06/09/colorado-county-proposes-51st-state-north-colorado/

VegasRick on June 9, 2013 at 11:29 AM

There is only one way a proposal like this would ever stand a chance, and that is Puerto Rico. Statehood politics is all about balance, that has been true since the founding.

Forget a 51-star flag. A 52-star, that is much more likely.

Greek Fire on June 9, 2013 at 6:41 PM

This is par for Vermont and it’s socialist/ultra-liberal regime. Don’t let this aberration be a model for all.

rplat on June 9, 2013 at 12:42 PM

Ever hear of the Shaffer Commission report,ordered by a Republican President who refused to implement it’s reconmendations, as did the Democrat congress?

svs22422 on June 9, 2013 at 9:34 PM

I’m from Montgomery County, PA (though not his district, thankfully). Daylin Leach is a comedian masquerading as a liberal state senator. He’s about as far left as you’ll ever get outside of the safe urban districts represented by people like Maxine Waters. He’s also running for Congress (PA-13) and needs something to attract Democrat primary voters.

The local authorities have pretty effectively decriminalized possession by charging offenders with disorderly conduct instead of possession. They reserve the possession charges for those holding a lot of the substance or who do something really stupid while high.

Otto Zilch on June 9, 2013 at 9:48 PM

1. Laws are punitive, not preventative. 20 years of law enforcement…I will argue this till I die…a law is a piece of paper that allows you to punish someone for behavior. The threat of being caught, and that punishment, is only a deterrent . A restraining order is a worthless defense, it only allows you to no-bond hold someone *AFTER* they break it. (which is usually after someone has received serious bodily injury, unfortunately)

2. Marijuana legalization should be up to the States, not the Feds, period.

3. The ‘legalization’ of ANY drug (including alcohol), still carries public safety and child protection interests as penalties. Legal or no, You can’t drive while high, and If I come into your house, and the conditions are unfit for you to raise your child, because you’re higher than Tommy Chong, and your 10 month old is sitting in a pile of his own shit in an empty pizza-box…I still get to call Social Services to come get your child, and charge you with child neglect. (and yes, I can still take you to ‘detox’ if you can’t take care of yourself, too.)

4. Generally speaking, I have always found those under the influence of marijuana infinitely more reasonable, agreeable, and amenable than a drunk.

5. I love living in Colorado, and that marijuana is legal here; soon to be taxed (heavily) and sold in stores with control, as opposed to passed hand-to-hand with no recourse to ensure medical quality or safety. (I also hate living in Colorado, because our Governor is a pro-Sanctuary, anti-2nd amendment douche-nozzle; and all the California liberals that completely destroyed their state, have decided to “Start over” here. To wit I say, “Go Home Leftist scum. Sleep in the bed you so self-righteously made before trying to re-dress mine.”

a5minmajor on June 9, 2013 at 10:20 PM

Sorry, it was about thirty years ago when I took that class. Perhaps I missed the exact terms and maybe the instructor was full of shit. However, you proved my point. A difference of one atom can drastically alter the effect the molecule has on a person. Your argument then boils down to “You’re wrong!” instead of posting evidence to the contrary. The part about smoking in the basement was an attempt at humor. Your indignation over that tells me you’re having an emotional reaction to my post rather than trying to show where I went wrong. Are you sure you’re not a liberal? :)

Odysseus on June 9, 2013 at 4:10 PM

So far as I know, I’m not a liberal. Leastways not the leftist kind. Classical liberal, sure.

One atom difference obviously can vastly change the chemical properties of a substance, but it’s to the point that there is no comparison. Trying to make that comparison isn’t “fair” to the chemicals in question.

Where I do say you’re wrong is the insinuation that weed makes you jump out of a car going 70. That is honestly just absolutely terrible argumentation, or else we’d hear all kinds of stories about people doing it. I don’t think you even hear about people on PCP doing that, and there is a vast difference in intoxication level between marijuana and PCP. It really does a disservice to the anti-drug argument, when government tries to classify marijuana in the same sort of category as a drug like heroin.

The arguments I see used against marijuana, including in this very thread, could easily be turned around and used against alcohol. But we don’t want to criminalize alcohol; among other things, we saw how that worked out when we tried it. You have to take the bad with the “good”, as it were.

And really, when you want to get down to it, I do not believe they (always the ubiquitous “they”) have ever determined a lethal dose of marijuana, probably because there likely isn’t one, or if there is, you would pass out long before you could ever ingest that amount. In any event, if you’re talking about lethal doses, alcohol does not come off well in such a comparison. We all hear stories about stupid frat parties where some freshman chugs an entire fifth of vodka in 15 minutes and dies as a result, but we don’t immediately say we should outlaw alcohol; and you know what? That would NEVER happen with marijuana.

Andy in Colorado on June 9, 2013 at 10:26 PM

a5minmajor on June 9, 2013 at 10:20 PM

Agreed 100%. Sorry I didn’t quote your whole post. I especially agree with the “immigration” from California, as it were. Californians screwed up their state, and now they get to inflict it upon us? I hate that.

(I understand they are doing it to Montana and other mountain west states, too).

Our governor sucks, and as far as I’m concerned, the recent ban on high-capacity magazines is pointless. Like I couldn’t just drive up to Cheyenne and get whatever I wanted in that regard. I’d like to see what happens to a politician in Wyoming who even dares hint at gun control.

Andy in Colorado on June 9, 2013 at 10:30 PM

by the way, your original analogy was completely wrong. fail all around.

chasdal on June 9, 2013 at 1:21 PM

…and you explained my wrongness exactly why? You seem to be the type of person who just assaults another person’s opinions that you don’t agree without any counter argument. What kinda shi1 are you?

Ceteris Paribus on June 10, 2013 at 3:24 AM