A former top state law enforcement official has thrown his support behind the effort to end marijuana prohibition in Vermont in 2016. The Vermont Coalition to Regulate Marijuana launched its first ads of the year on Tuesday, featuring former Vermont Attorney General Kimberly Cheney highlighting the benefits of regulating marijuana.
The coalition held a news conference at the Vermont State House to formally announce Cheney's endorsement, display one of the ads, and express support for the vision Gov. Peter Shumlin laid out last week during his state of the state address. The ads can be viewed online at http://RegulateVermont.org/Cheney.
Cheney served as Vermont attorney general from 1973 to 1975. Previously, he served as an assistant attorney general and was elected Washington County states attorney. He has held a variety of other civic positions and is a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). Cheney is available for phone interviews and can be reached via Matt Simon at 202-905-2025 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Thursday, Gov. Shumlin said Vermont "[has] the capacity to take this next step and get marijuana legalization done right" in 2016, and he promised state lawmakers he will work with them to "craft the right bill that thoughtfully and carefully eliminates the era of prohibition that is currently failing us so miserably."
Statement from former Vermont Attorney General Kimberly Cheney:
"As a former attorney general of Vermont, I am committed to bringing awareness to the failures of marijuana prohibition and working toward a safer Vermont. We can't expect a different result by doing the same failed action over again. The only hope lies in a fundamentally different approach; without further delay, the Vermont Legislature should move forward with plans to regulate marijuana in 2016.
"Under current prohibition laws, marijuana isn't controlled, so consumers don't know what they're getting. It is sold by criminals who don't ask for proof of age and might expose consumers to other illegal drugs. Meanwhile, our enforcement officials waste their time punishing adults for simple marijuana possession.
"In a tightly regulated system, marijuana will be tested, labeled, and properly packaged. It will be sold by licensed businesses that ask for ID, sell only to adults, and do not expose consumers to other more harmful substances. Plus, law enforcement will be able to spend more time addressing serious crimes instead of enforcing failed prohibition laws.
"As we have in so many other ways, Vermont can once again be a leader, showing how a carefully crafted law can be a victory for justice and public safety."
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The Vermont Coalition to Regulate Marijuana is a broad coalition of citizens, organizations, and businesses working to end marijuana prohibition in Vermont and replace it with a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed. For more information, visit http://www.RegulateVermont.org.