Feb 242016
 
police accident

To:       Vermont legislators: Comment on S.241 establishing stores to sell marijuana.

From:   Barbara K. Orleck, P.O. Box 174, Randolph, VT 05060 Phone-802-728-9806

Fifty seven years ago I was a freshmen attending high school in Alexandria Kentucky, one much like our high school in Randolph, Vermont.  As if it was yesterday, I recall the Saturday when three classmates who were going hunting met with a tragic car accident.  Two of the boys were cousins and one of them, a new inexperienced driver, was behind the wheel and as he was going around a bend he went over the centerline and collided with a Mack truck coming down the hill.  The cousins died and the other boy was seriously injured.  No drugs or alcohol were involved.

When school convened on Monday it was a nightmare.  As the students learned of the accident and the deaths of two of their classmates, there was much crying and grief.  It was so hard on the kids and teachers and some had to be medicated and some sent home.  That same day we were taken, class by class, to the funeral home just across the highway from our school in order to pay our respects.  It was so hard!  Our police chief directed traffic as we made our way.  His boy was the one who survived.

As horrible as this accident was, it was just that, an accident caused by an inexperienced driver.  What if there had been drugs involved?  Parents, friends, teachers and others would not have just been dealing with a tragic loss but with the guilt of having not kept these substances from that child.  Just imagine the unbearable guilt that would accompany a young friend or an adult if they had in some way enabled that child, directly or indirectly to get the drug that killed them?  Those responsible for this law that makes this drug readily available that will get into the hands of youth will have that burden when such a tragedy occurs and it is just a matter of time before it does.

The likelihood of students being under the influence is much greater today than when that accident happened years ago.  There were little or no illegal drugs that we knew of and most kids did not drink then either.  In today’s world the attitudes of drivers and young people is so different and this makes it even more likely they will be in a serious accident in which someone driving will be under the influence.

Have you noticed when driving on I-89 during a snow storm how out-of-staters drive dangerously fast for the road and bad weather conditions?   They are always in a hurry to get to their ski destinations.  Many of these out-of-staters will be those who have been to the state sanctioned marijuana store and are then driving around on Vermont’s snowy, icy roads in an impaired condition.  We could lose a whole school bus of students traveling to play sports.  It could be your children or grandchildren on the road coming back from work, a school event or just running an errand.  It is just a matter of time before it happens and it doesn’t have to be that way. What price do you put on a whole family, a child, a full school bus, your spouse or siblings?   A lawmaker is supposed to pass laws that protect its citizens not to put them in danger.  Please don’t do this!

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 Posted by at 01:40
Feb 242016
 
SCAM ALERT

Dear Vermont Senators:                                                                                            February 23, 2016

Re: S.241 An act relating to personal possession and cultivation of cannabis

and the regulation of commercial cannabis establishments.

Please take a moment to review the five goals that Governor Shumlin set forth in his State of the State message to justify going forward with the legalization of marijuana and more importantly in establishing a system of licensing for stores to sell marijuana.  I hope you will look at the goals and the comments on them below.   Recently the Commissioner of Public safety pointed to the hope that these goals will be realized as his reason for saying he would be able to go forward with the wishes of his boss, the Governor.  He express sincerely felt fears that these goals must result in the message being sent to our children being the right one, that we reduce the black market in marijuana and that we reduce impaired drivers on Vermont’s roads.  It would be instructive to look at those goals and see whether the hope of the Commissioner can rationally be place in them actually doing what they say.

The numbered items represent each of the Governor’s stated goals and are in quotation marks and my comments follow after that.

  1. “A legal market must keep marijuana and other drugs out of the hands of underage kids. The current system doesn’t. Our new system must.”

Is it better to regulate it or leave it unregulated? People have to make choices in their lives and even though something is illegal they can choose to seek after it. That is different, however, than having it out there legally. Adults are the intended consumers from the stores that the state will establish. Adults are the intended consumers from stores that sell liquor. If we didn’t think there would be a market we would not establish stores so we know this will create a market (made up of some past illegal users and new users both in and out of state).  We know that adults will take it home and that legal marijuana will become accessible to underage children because of that. Creating such a market can have no other effect on availability to children than to increase it. Argue that as you will, the next point is surely hard to counter. The message the establishment of these stores brings will be one to encourage younger people to use the product if they can get it from an accommodating adult or taken from the parent’s liquor/marijuana cabinet. If we did not believe that example brings a message to our children why do we try to set good ones for them?  One would have to be into reality denial to believe that there is not a bad message here.

  1. “The tax imposed must be low enough to wipe out the black market and get rid of the illegal drug dealers.”

I would like the Governor to explain how a tax can be low enough to eliminate the black market and get rid of drug dealers. Frankly that is a dumb thought and is impossible! The state looks as if it is going to impose a 25% tax on marijuana. Couple that tax with the cost of establishing and operating highly regulated stores only adds up to the marijuana being sold being an expensive product. The illegal dealer’s black market marijuana will not carry the 25% and the dealer does not have the high store overhead. So while drug tourists will frequent these authorized stores, the buying habits of those with suppliers now is not likely to change. The proponents of this plan of course are relying on “huge” revenue from the sale to drug tourists and can’t reasonably think that doing it with a 25% surcharge and high marketing costs will eliminate the black market and drive out the dealers. We will have both illegal and legal sellers as the result of this legislation.

  1. “Revenue from legalization must be used to expand addiction prevention programs.”

Let’s see. Enable stores to sell a drug you can tax to pay for programs to prevent the drug’s use. (pause) Not sure who is buying this but I hope you are not.

  1. We must strengthen law enforcement’s capacity to improve our response to impaired drivers under the influence of marijuana who are already on Vermont’s roads.”

The Commissioner says it is important to him that one of the points in the Governor’s five goals will work to reduce the number of impaired drivers on the road. However, if you legalize it they will come and when they come, they will come by car and they will use marijuana and will drive impaired not only while here but as they go back home to Montreal, Boston and New York. So we will have drug impaired locals and drug impaired tourists. Doesn’t sound like a way to reduce the number of drugged drivers on Vermont’s roads does it? One only needs to look at Colorado statistics that show that drug-impaired fatalities have increased since the legalization there. This goal is not going to be realized by setting up legal sales.   Director of the Vermont State Police, Col. Matthew Birmingham knows it and so do many other law enforcement people and I hope you do too.   People will die and lives will be ruined.  Each of you most likely has children and grandchildren.  They could well be the innocent victim of a drugged driver who hits their school bus or family vehicle.

  1. Take a hard lesson learned from other states and ban the sale of edibles until other states figure out how to do it right.”

While not enabling edibles, the legislation gives a charge to the Commission to study edibles and come back with recommendations. There is big money in edibles and that door is being left open to allow this in the future. The operative word in the Governor’s goal is “until”. It is obvious where this is going.

The Commissioner of Public Safety said; “As we move forward if there’s a bill that will accomplish all five of the governor’s goals then it is a goal that “as the Commissioner of Public Safety I can live with and we should be moving forward with.”  This bill will not accomplish the five goals and for that reason alone the legislation needs to be defeated.

 

 

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 Posted by at 01:00
Feb 202016
 
capitol marijuana Vermont

Response by Bob Orleck to article in vtdigger.com “INSIDE THE GOLDEN BUBBLE: POLICE AND THE POLITICS OF POT”  

The Governor of Vermont says that he is happy that the Vermont Commissioner of Public Safety supports the bill to legalize marijuana.  But does he really?  In this article Commissioner Flynn speaks of his role in the process and his rationale for supporting the legislation.  It would be instructive to look at what he says and apply it to the goals he is relying on that was set by the Governor in his State of the State message.

The article pointed out and it is granted that the Commissioner of Public Safety is between a rock and a hard place but he is not the first person that holds a position of public trust that this has happened to. Sure, he was appointed by Governor Shumlin and probably holds the job at the Governor’s pleasure, but he should not be looking for some nuanced way to avoid publicly taking the principled stand he should especially when considering the concerns he has expressed.

I spent time transcribing some of what he said in the audio interview embedded in the on-line article and the message came through that he has three major concerns. That of the message that will be sent to children and that it is right, that we reduce impaired drivers on Vermont’s roads and that we reduce the black market in marijuana. He is relying on the hope that the legislation will meet and accomplish the five goals set out by the Governor in his State of the State message.

To figure out if the Commissioner’s hopes are realistic we have to look at Governor Shumlin’s five goals and analyze them. The numbered items represent each of the Governor’s stated goals and are in quotation marks and the my comments follow after that.

1. “A legal market must keep marijuana and other drugs out of the hands of underage kids. The current system doesn’t. Our new system must.” The Commissioner recognizes that marijuana is here. So the issue he says would be whether it is better to regulate it or leave it unregulated and if we go in the direction of access then we have to be concerned about the message being sent to our children and be sure it is right. People have to make choices in their lives and even though something is illegal they can choose to seek after it. That is different, however, than having it out there legally. Adults are the intended consumers from the stores that the state will establish. Adults are the intended consumers from stores that sell liquor. If we didn’t think there would be a market we would not establish stores so we know that adults will take it home and that legal marijuana will become accessible to underage children. Creating such a market can have no other effect on availability to children than to increase it. Argue that as you will, the next point is surely hard to counter. The message, and it is the message the Commissioner is concerned about, surely is one that will encourage younger people to use the product if they can get it from an accommodating adult or taken from the parent’s liquor/marijuana cabinet. If we did not believe that example brings a message to our children why do we try to set them for our children? One would have to be into reality denial to believe that there is not a bad message here. Yes, the message being sent is a bad one, Commissioner. I believe it is in the report of the Vermont Department of Health that says that education programs have no effect on reducing use so that element that is so important to you is not going to make a difference. The health element has been clearly expressed by physicians from six different medical organizations and their words have fallen on deaf ears.

2. “The tax imposed must be low enough to wipe out the black market and get rid of the illegal drug dealers.” I would like the Governor to explain how a tax can be low enough to eliminate the black market and get rid of drug dealers. Commissioner, that is impossible! The state looks as if it is going to impose a 25% tax on marijuana. Couple that tax with the cost of establishing and operating highly regulated stores only adds up to the marijuana they are selling being an expensive product. The illegal dealer’s black market marijuana will not carry the 25% and the dealer does not have the high store overhead. So while drug tourists will frequent these fancy state authorized drug dens, the buying habits of those with suppliers now is not likely to change. The proponents of this plan of course are relying on “huge” revenue from the sale to drug tourists and can’t reasonably think that doing it with a 25% surcharge and high marketing costs will eliminate the black market and drive out the dealers. Commissioner, do you really believe this goal will be reached by making sure the tax is low enough as he said to “wipe out the black market and get rid of the illegal drug dealers”?

3. “Revenue from legalization must be used to expand addiction prevention programs.” Let’s see. Enable stores to sell a drug you can tax to pay for programs to prevent the drug’s use. (pause) Not sure who is buying this but I doubt if you are Commissioner.

4. “We must strengthen law enforcement’s capacity to improve our response to impaired drivers under the influence of marijuana who are already on Vermont’s roads.” The Commissioner says it is important to him that one of the points in the Governor’s five points works to reduce the number of impaired drivers on the road. However, Commissioner Flynn, if you legalize it they will come and when they come, they will come by car and they will use marijuana and will drive impaired not only while here but when they go back home to Montreal, Boston and New York. So we will have drug impaired locals and drug impaired tourists. Doesn’t sound like a way to reduce the number of drugged drivers on Vermont’s roads does it? One only needs to look at Colorado statistics that show that drug-impaired fatalities have increased since the legalization there. Commissioner, this goal is not going to be realized and I think you know it. Director of the Vermont State Police, Col. Birmingham know it and so do many other law enforcement people and I think you do also. People will die and lives will be ruined.

5. “Take a hard lesson learned from other states and ban the sale of edibles until other states figure out how to do it right.” While not enabling edibles, the legislation gives a charge to the Commission to study edibles and come back with recommendations. There is big money in edibles and that door is being left open to allow this in the future. The operative word in the Governor’s goal is “until”. It is obvious where this is going.

Below is the transcript I did of the first part of the Commissioner’s audible interview in the article. I include this so you can have his words to apply to the comments I have made above. My opinion is that the Commissioner’s course of action should be clear to him. He should tell it like it is and refuse to be a part of it or he should resign and show the world that this is all about greed, money and power and not what is right for the citizens of Vermont. Commissioner, that includes your grandchildren and mine.

You said that “As we move forward if there’s a bill that will accomplish all five of the governor’s goals then it is a goal that as the Commissioner of Public Safety I can live with and we should be moving forward with.” The bill will not accomplish those five goals and no bill could!

Transcript of the Commissioner of Public Safety, Keith Flynn

“As we move toward this issue, I think that the governor’s five points that he put out are very important and if we can accomplish those five points and a couple of them really stand out for me. We need to make sure the message that we are getting to our children is right. That’s why I think it’s important that we have a big education piece in this and a big health piece. I think that is very important.

I am concerned as is the governor about the five points. One of the five points that he mentioned is the need to make sure that we do whatever we can to reduce the number of impaired drivers on our highways and I think that is extremely important. Being able to reduce the black market I think will be also one of the corner stones of this.

As we move forward if there’s a bill that will accomplish all five of the governor’s goals then it is a goal that as the commissioner of public service I can live with and we should be moving forward with. If marijuana is here, and it’s not a matter whether marijuana is here now, marijuana is here now. The question we need to ask ourselves first of all is are we better off having it in a regulated atmosphere or in a un-regulated atmosphere and I believe there is a value to having it in a regulated atmosphere.

We know a number of things. First of all we know that prohibition has never worked. You name the substance and it hasn’t worked. So the approach that we are taking with complete prohibition has not been working. But I think when we start down that road we are confronted with the other questions. What are the messages we are sending to our children and what about the safety of people on the highway.

Those are big things for me. And I think the approach that is being taken and I don’t know what the end result will be. But if we are able to accomplish all the five goals that the governor has set forward I think that is a common sense approach to doing this and a responsible approach.”

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 Posted by at 14:41
Feb 162016
 
Winter Fish Hill Trout Pond

By Bob Orleck commenting on a Facebook video:  Watch the video then check out my similar experience.  Well, not exactly!

What is shown in this video is amazing and frightening at the same time. Just a week ago I experienced a not as amazing and not as frightening similar experience at our pond.

Our pond is emptied by an 18 inch pipe that is surrounded by a protective fencing. Right over the pipe is a device made of copper pipes strung together to allow it to be slipped over the pipe and about 1 foot above it. The purpose is to prevent my trout from going over the pipe and out of the pond. What happens is debris (mostly leaves) gather around it and they stop the flow and the pond rises up to the point where it overflows above the device over the pipe. The level of the pond then is about 1 foot above what it would be without that. Now I try to keep that clean but the pond froze over before we could do that this year and so it created a possible problem for me when the thaw would come.

I knew that I had to get to this. It was the proper thing to do but I was reluctant because of the effort that would have to be expended and not sure if I could do it anyway. But when I got the device off the pipe and cleared it of the debris the amazing thing happened. Also, it really wasn’t that hard. It was a little difficult to get the device back on because of the rush of water but I did. The overflow pipe was running full and the roar was very loud. Within minutes the pond, which is an acre in size, began to groan and moan. Then a sharp crack was heard and then another. Within 15 minutes the pond had been lowered by 6 inches and within 30 minutes by a foot and the ice was collapsing all around. The power of that ice moving was pretty awesome.

I reflected on that when it was happening and was impressed by what I had put into action by my little act of obedience to the right thing. It made me think about the teachings of scripture that nothing is impossible. There was no way I could move those tons of ice by my own strength but I was able to do it by going to the thing that could make it happen.

The application that came to me then and there was cool and it gave me more understanding that really it is true that anything is possible with Jesus. It was fun to have that example show up right there in that cold moment when I stood and watched what unfolded when I did the right thing in clearing that device on the pond.

One thing for sure is I would not go down beneath the ice to get mussels. I would go down to Shaw’s Supermarket in Randolph.

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 Posted by at 11:58
Feb 132016
 
half mast flag

I feel such a loss for our country at the death of Supreme Court Justice, Antonin Scalia. The joy that his death brings to so many ignorant, deceived and evil people is wonderful testimony as to how great a jurist and a man who believed in the idea and ideal of Constitutionalism he was. These pig-ignorant humans who rub their hands in glee at our nation’s loss will see the day when their misguided ways will bring them complete bondage and ruination. By Bob Orleck

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 Posted by at 20:46
Feb 132016
 
greed for weed money

greed for weed money

Bob Orleck commenting on the article in vtdigger.com “Senate Panel passes 25 per cent tax on pot.  The quotes below are from the article. By the way if you tried to find my comment on the article, the editor’s apparently felt it was too critical and did not publish it. I have inquired but have not heard a reason.

“The Senate Finance Committee placed a 25 percent excise tax on the sale of marijuana. The tax, which would function like a sales tax, would be applied to retail sales of the drug.” This tax is what it is all about and not about the facts that show a clear danger to our children and to us. The addiction to money is more important than the addiction to drugs in the minds of our “leaders”. This is another one of those bad things for Vermont that Governor Shumlin and the other progressive-liberals are bringing down on us.

“The legislation legalizes marijuana effective January 2, 2018. In the first six months of the fiscal year, a 25 percent tax would generate between $5.6 million and $8.7 million, according to estimates from the Joint Fiscal Office.” This is deceptive because while this sounds like a lot of money if they were to give us an analysis that included “drug tourists” from Montreal, Boston, New York, etc., the amount of money would be obscene and our state will be known as a “drug mecca”. Just imagine all the drugged drivers and skiers. Do this and they will come!

“The legislation does not allow the sale of homegrown pot, nor does it allow edibles.” That is because the state does not want any competition. The result of 25% tax plus high overhead of stores will mean an expensive product that cannot compete with the illegal drug dealers. So we will have both legal drug dealers and illegal drug dealers. Senator Mullin is correct in his concern.

The legislation (as currently written) does not include edibles the article says. But the next paragraph says that “only legal outlets….would be the only source for certain pot products, including tinctures and edibles.” To my face, sponsor, Senator Joe Benning, said there would be no edibles. Was he not telling me the truth or has he also been deceived? If we are not going to sell edibles why is the Commission that is established in the legislation studying and making recommendations about edibles?

And finally, shame on VSECU for partnering with drug dealers and making this legislation work. VSECU couches it as a solution for the “cash” problem but the way they have come out now for this is to enable it to happen. Again, shame on you VSECU!

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 Posted by at 15:01
Feb 122016
 
RX symbol

Human activity and inventions at any particular time have an effect on the definition of words.

The phone technology change brought about a change in the word “cell” which to me previously meant somewhere a prisoner resided or the smallest structural element of an organism.  Now it means a phone or a small group organized for a particular purpose like terrorism.  The meaning of “gay” to many older people never had the meaning it has today and once was used to describe a happy person and “straight” was a line you drew with a ruler.  A “mouse” was a little rodent and to “tag” someone was to play a game or label an item with a price.  A “friend” was a very special person to know and you only had a few real ones but now we have hundreds of friends on Facebook, many of whom we have not and never will meet nor are they “friends”.  I know you can think many other examples.

Well there is one that hits home for me where I work.  Our “wrong-headed” Vermont State Legislature and it’s ‘always wrong in doing what is right for our citizens”, Governor Peter Shumlin, are pushing to legalize marijuana and establish a system for authorized stores to sell the drug.  As a “pharmacist” or “druggist” who has always felt pride in working in a pharmacy or drugstore to help people with illnesses, I am sad to think that soon the term “drug store” won’t have the same positive meaning but will be the place where people go to get their “fix”.  By the way, that’s a word that used to mean correcting something broken but now means….oh you know what it means!  It’s a prescription for tragedy!  Why it’s enough to make you sick!

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 Posted by at 11:42
Feb 122016
 
That was easy

There is a help on computers that allows us to check spelling and grammar.  When I was writing a piece about one of the many things that Governor Shumlin has done to damage our state, the computer pointed to the name “Shumlin” and suggested other spellings.  The spelling of course is correct but we have to make a choice on the computer.  It says “change” or “ignore”.   Don’t you wish it was that easy?

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 Posted by at 09:58
Feb 102016
 
marijuana

Letter delivered to the Capitol  today to be delivered to each of our legislators.

February 10, 2016

To:         Vermont Legislators
From:     Robert Orleck

 

Re:  S.241      An act relating to personal possession and cultivation of cannabis and the regulation of commercial cannabis establishments.

I am a Vermont pharmacist and I ask you to read and consider what I have to say regarding the pending legislation that will legalize marijuana and establish licensing for stores to sell the drug.

No one would disagree that marijuana is bad for the developing brain of a child or adolescent and the wording of the legislation will prohibit those less than 21 years of age from participating. Words are good but the end result will be to make more of the drug available and that coupled with the message from our lawmakers if they pass this will be one of acceptability.  That it is just for adults will be lost on kids just as that message is lost on many of them when it is about alcohol.  We know children follow by example and this will be no exception.   If it is ok for mom and dad, it really can’t be too bad for me.   That is so untrue and it is documented that when  children begin using at an early age it sets them up for bad outcomes as adults, poorer academic accomplishments, loss of ability to succeed and a greater likelihood that they will as adults be less likely to support themselves.   Passage will put this in motion!

I would suggest watching the 2014 CNBC marijuana documentary “Colorado Pot Rush “ (it is on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3m–ymG5FPI ) if for no other reason than to consider the “new normal” about marijuana it depicts and how the users are no longer in the shadows but at museum receptions and  the like as a part of polite society. This should raise your fears on how this legalization will be perceived by the youth of our communities.  As if they already aren’t bombarded by too many damaging messages from a society that has gone astray.

With the medical evidence of the adverse effects on children, the mentally ill and the assurances from the experts that we will have increased traffic accidents due to drugged driving, it is hard to understand how the lure for revenue could trump those things. Colorado already reports a spike in drug related traffic deaths. Legalize marijuana and make it available in stores and they will come and by the thousands from Montreal, Boston and New York.  They will drive to our state to partake and many of them, when driving back home, will do so under the influence.

Senator Joe Benning told me that money was not the reason he favored this law. If that is not it, I wish I could hear a coherent explanation of how he and others can ignore the factually based fears expressed by six different physician organizations, Vermont Department of Health, the police and educators that this proposed law will make a bad situation worse. The weak argument that this will do away or damage the black market for the drug is a fantasy. The reality will be that we will have both the legal store sellers and the illegal sellers because the local users will not be as discriminating in their choices of where to buy as drug tourists might and will be driven by price. Illegal drug dealers don’t have the overhead of a store nor are they burdened by the high tax.

Right now the law does not allow for edibles and proponents deny that is going to happen and they are emphatic about that. If that is so why then is the study Commission they established considering the matter of edibles? “(4) examine the issue of marijuana concentrates and edible marijuana products and whether Vermont safely can allow and regulate their manufacture and sale and, if so, how;” Only reason they are not proposing it now is because they know it would kill the bill. Can anyone doubt that this will be the next step? It’s about taking small steps and wearing down any resistance. The above mentioned video shows how big that edible industry is and the apparent lack of concern about children getting and eating their product. After all, who could even imagine that a child would eat a delicious looking piece of yummy candy that is lying around? You know children will get it, eat it and will suffer. That is where we are heading if you pass this.

The state should never be in such a dangerous and illegal (federal law) business. The government’s main role is to protect us but this legislation endangers many and especially the young. Please for the sake of the children, yours, mine and our grandchildren, just say “NO”!

Thank you for reading and considering my comments.

Robert L. Orleck

 

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 Posted by at 18:35