On January 4th the Vermont House of Representatives voted for H.511, a bill that would legalize marijuana for recreational use. On the 16th the Senate finalized the legislature’s action and on January 17th the bill went to Governor Phil Scott who said he had made a deal with someone and would support the bill. He has not given any reasons why this would be the right thing to do. Just that he promised to support the bill. Did he make a good deal though. Who is responsible for the consequences that flow from the enactment of the bill then?
The Governor has many times told us that it was not his initiative that brought the bill to the legislature and he has said multiple times that it was not his priority. He even chided the legislature at his “State of the State” message about them putting this first when there are so many other important matters facing the legislature.
In May of 2017, Governor Scott vetoed S.22, a bill that has provisions about the same as H.511, and said the time was not right. He wanted to insure safety for children and wanted a roadside test to protect drivers on our roadways. No such test is available because there is no way to relate the presence of marijuana in the system with impairment. He appointed a Marijuana Commission to study such issues and other matters and they were to deliver their first report to the Vermont Legislature on January 15th. The legislature never saw the report before they voted to legalize even though the Governor wanted that, and Republican legislators tried to get them to postpone their vote until the report was delivered.
The report that was posted on the Commission website on January 16th, can be safely characterized as not being in support of legalization. The report points out a lot of issues that make it easy to conclude that more people will become addicted, more will die on the roads and there will be brain injury to children if this is legalized and more of the drug becomes available for use. The potency of today’s marijuana is the reason this report will become a reality in the suggested fears it raises.
Not only did they refuse to wait to get the report, but they also refused to hear a woman whose son’s life was damaged by exposure to marijuana. She came from Pueblo, Colorado to be with us for 8 days to speak to the legislators and the Governor about how marijuana legalization has damaged the community where she lives. The picture she was to paint for the legislators was not a pretty one but would be a window into what Vermont will become should they go down that same road. The situation today is not much different than when he said the time was not right and the result should be the same. A veto! Seems obvious that certain legislative leaders did not want any of their members to be able to reconsider their vote based on new and valid information. ‘They just went ahead and blindly passed this bill and the vote was close.
You would think the Governor would be angry and would feel betrayed to the point where he could have stepped away from that deal, whatever it was. The legislature even denied an amendment that would have put a cap on the quantity of marijuana that a person could grow and stockpile. Such a provision endangers children who will be living in the homes that have these grows where unknown and unpoliced quantities of marijuana are present. These children will be subjected to exposure that they cannot prevent or avoid.
History in other places with homegrown marijuana reveals that such homes have increased home invasions, diversion, sale, and increased use by children. You would think this would be enough for the Governor to reject this bill since that action would fly in the face of his stated goal to protect children but not so. He still says he will vote for the bill. This bill also enables children to grow and distribute marijuana on their own with no penalty. How is this living up to the promise by the Governor to protect children?
The question needs to be asked of those legislators who voted for H.511 and to the Governor. Why are you doing this to us? No matter that so many well-meaning, smart, caring people and organizations, armed with scientific and medical facts, preached until they were blue in the face, the Legislature passed H.511 and Governor Phil Scott has still vowed to sign it.
The question is not when people will be killed or injured, but who will be responsible when that happens.
The President Trump haters are at it again screaming about the pardon of Sheriff Arpaio. Compare this outrageous against the high quality level pardons of Obama. “Obama set records for clemency in cutting sentences of drug dealers and users and repeat felons — including those who used guns in the commission of their crimes. Mr. Obama also issued end-of-term decisions to commute sentences of a member of a Puerto Rican terrorist group, and of Chelsea Manning, who before undergoing sex-change surgery was Army Pvt. Bradley Manning, serving 35 years in prison for leaking government secrets to WikiLeaks.”
Others saw it like it really is and was: Arizona Representative Trent Franks said the pardon was neither unprecedented nor outrageous, as critics suggested, and he compared it …with Mr. Obama’s commutation of Manning’s sentence. ““While no one can dispute Manning acted to undermine our country’s national security, Joe Arpaio has spent a lifetime trying to maintain it. Comparing the two, it is easy to discern that Arpaio is a patriot while Manning is a traitor,” Mr. Franks said.
Now what does Senator Leahy think: Surely, with all this time in the Senate and all the bad things he must have seen, he would see that this was a worthwhile pardon and would be able to compare this with those of say, President Obama. Let’s see! “It is disheartening that [the president] set the bar so very low for his first pardon,” said Sen. Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, the senior Democrat in the Senate. “It is a shame to see the pardon power devalued like this. The ex-sheriff is a self-aggrandizing braggart who promoted racist law enforcement practices and cost taxpayers millions, and that is a reason they did not re-elect him.” Could it be that Senator Leahy is one of the main reasons we need to “drain the swamp”? Maybe can think of at least one other who only gives us what his initials are: BS
Commenting on a piece in vtdigger.org reporting a Federalist Society forum on “pot” and the conflict of Vermont’s legalization efforts with Medical Marijuana and now Recreational Marijuana, Bob Orleck commented:
An event to benefit Vermont Veterans causes.
“Veterans helping Veterans”
Here is how to support our Vermont Veterans
- If you have a motorcycle and want to ride, come to St. Albans. Ride registration is 9 AM-10:45 AM this Saturday and the ride starts at 11 AM sharp!
- Even if you don’t come to ride you can come to watch the ride begin or come after the ride to enjoy the fellowship and there will be a cash grill.
- If you can’t be there, check out the route map of their ride and put out a welcoming sign to show your appreciation for their service as they ride by. Wave an American Flag!
- Donation form (The purpose of the ride is to raise funds for Veteran causes.)
- Share this email with others in your address book. Help get the word out.
This is a perfect opportunity to say “Thank You” for protecting our freedoms and “Welcome Home” and at the same time help in “raising funds for non-drug assisted rehab programs for veterans, their families and the Vermont communities in which they live.” Drug addiction and PTSD are of national concern and our Vermont Vets are not immune from them.
Guy Page is a good friend and an honorable guy who brings news in a nutshell through (State House Headliners. Your Advocate in the Vermont Statehouse 802-505-0448 email@example.com Facebook: Page Communications) Below is an example and those of you who are interested in the marijuana issue in Vermont would do well to subscribe to his service. He is generally the first to get the real news out there on the issue and it is news that can be trusted. In the report below, he addresses “saliva testing” for marijuana and gives a warning that the pro-pot legislators believe they will get a bill passed next year to legalize marijuana.
We have been successful the last two years warding off this evil for Vermont but what we are facing this next year is different. While Governor Scott did veto the marijuana legalization bill (S.22), at the veto override session in June, he did come to an agreement with the pro-pot legislators to include language that he felt would meet his concerns. Thanks to the Republicans in the House, the bill did not move to a vote because they refused to allow suspension of the rules that would have been required in the abbreviated special session. Next January though, that bill will be on the desks of the House members for action. We need to keep informed and not let up. Most of you should have the contact information for the House members. Please keep contacting them over the next six months and telling them how you feel about legalization. Do the same for the Governor. If you would like me to send you a contact list just ask by return email.
If you wish to be on a special mailing list that is being put together to keep you informed of Alerts that require action and other Vermont marijuana related issues, please email Bob Orleck at this email address or preferably at firstname.lastname@example.org. We need to change minds of the Governor, the legislators and the public and show them the dangers that legalization of marijuana will bring to Vermont.
Please pass this on to others who would be interested and might want to join in this effort to save our state from this dangerous, addicting drug.
Bob Orleck, email@example.com
S.16 bill expands medical marijuana use
A critical analysis of S.16 and
by Bob Orleck is a retired Vermont Pharmacist and a former Vermont Assistant Attorney General Contact: P.O. Box 174, Randolph, VT 05060. firstname.lastname@example.org 802-728-9806
There are so many things wrong with S.16 that even a child should be able to see. The bill has been presented as a “health bill” but nothing could be further from the truth. I have tried by focusing on parts of the bill, to make it clear to anyone really interested in analyzing its contents, that this bill is nothing more than an attempt to further the introduction of an addicting drug to Vermont. A review of even a few of the balloon comments next to the bill’s provisions should reveal the truth of what I have just pointed out. Passage of this bill will be one of the worse cases of legislative malpractice every done by a Vermont legislature.
The document may seem long but that is because it incorporates the language of S.16 so that comments could be put next to a specific section of the bill. With your computer mouse hover over the comment to read it.
Before you get to that, however, you will find some initial numbered comments that it seemed better to list at the beginning.
- One important point that should control is that no matter what “marijuana legalization bill” has or will be passed by the Vermont legislature and signed by the Governor, that act will be in direct conflict with the federal 1970 Controlled Substances Act. 16 is a bill that is expanding what was passed in years past and referred to as our “medical marijuana law”. The only reason that the law has been allowed to function is because Obama administration had chosen to not enforce the law in this area. Under the new federal administration that non-enforcement policy could soon be changing. As the dangers become more visible there will come a time when the law in this area will be enforced. http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/sessions-marijuana-policy-review/2017/04/06/id/782942/
- Marijuana is illegal to possess according to the 1970 federal “Controlled Substances Act” and that law has been constitutionally upheld. Any legalization by Vermont, be it for recreational or medical, would violate that law and would be violative of the United States Constitution’s Supremacy Clause.
- The proper way for well-controlled, trustworthy, authoritative studies to be done is to enable legitimate medical researchers to be able to possess marijuana for such test. If that enabling were possible, studies using double-blind, placebo controlled study for a particular medical treatment could be done. That is impossible now since under federal law, marijuana is a classified as a Schedule I drug and the active psychoactive ingredient, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is illegal to possess and has no recognized medical use. Efforts should be made to convince the federal administration to reclassify marijuana to Schedule II that would allow possession by those capable of doing those well-controlled clinical trials. It will be then and only then when there will be credible determinations of what value marijuana has for treatment for certain medical conditions.
A few other comments are offered to put the document into the proper perspective.
- Lawmakers are not educationally on informationally equipped to make decisions on medical conditions and their proper treatment choices. Such decisions cannot be left to the state. For uniformity and safety the Food and Drug Administration is the sole agency who can and should perform this role.
- As a pharmacist who practiced for over 50 years, I cannot tell you if marijuana has any value or what the value is in the treatment of the diseases listed in this bill. If I can’t do that, how can untrained legislators do that? I have an opinion but that is all it is, an opinion! That is all we could hope for from a legislator and for them not being trained even to the degree that I am, that is not a way to make a law.
- The bill is presented as a health bill but the medical community believes that healthcare should benefit a person’s health and not damage it. Much of the language is just cosmetic window dressing in order to paint this as responsible legislating. There can be no responsible legislating on this matter until proper risk/benefit and efficacy studies are done.
- The language regarding the conditions qualifying a person is specific in some respects but deteriorates into anything that a healthcare provider wants to certify a patient for. One can’t help but think of the old days when flim-flam men in horse drawn carts sold “snake oil” during their medicine shows as a cure for any and all diseases. The difference in the “fake medicine” then probably was some harmless substance but and now with marijuana, this fake medicine will have many casualties.
- In addition to the above, there are no provisions for standardization of the marijuana product so it is a consistent dosing. There are so many variations of marijuana that it needs to be specifically known what the active ingredients are each and every time a person doses. Science has been left out of this matter.
- Under this bill, all that seems necessary to be shown is that the patient has one of these conditions or other medical problems as well that are debilitating and they qualify for treatment with marijuana. One clause allows for qualification for “other diseases, conditions, or treatment as determined in writing by a qualifying patient’s health care professional.” How broad and vague is that? Such broad permission seems so inappropriate for a drug that has addicting qualities.
- 16 makes it easier for people to get marijuana by expanding the conditions that qualify a patient and the bill also makes the procedure for qualifying easier. With the expansion of the numbers of dispensaries, the advertising and provision for being a “for profit” dispensary, the result will be more availability of marijuana and more people using and being able to gain availability to the drug.
- Depending on what state you travel to, your treatment options with this drug will be different. The FDA provides the uniformity needed. Say you have been treated for PTSD or any condition permitted in Vermont and for long enough to be addicted to the marijuana and then you move to a state that respects the rule of law and has not legalized marijuana for any reason. Consider the dilemma that person is in now.
Click on this link to get the language of the bill and next to many of the provisions are simple, common sense, plain-talk comments on that provision. Put together they show that this bill has not been adequately vetted and passage as is would be a major case of medical malpractice!
Not sure if folks outside the independent country of Vermont can understand this, but when you have been represented (I use that term questionably) by the likes of Senator Patrick Leahy, it makes you wonder if the cold weather doesn’t have some sort of negative effect on rational thinking when we go to the polls in November. Where are term limits when you need them? 42 years for this man who is now incoherent most of the time and asleep the rest.There are times I think our brains are as frozen as our roads are in the winter and as muddy as they are right now in the spring. I even wonder why we go to the polls up here anyway. Maybe we should just appoint the Democrat Party to rule for life They are doing that anyway. Feel sorry for us up here. We desserve it. So I say:
Why even bother to elect a Democrat candidate? Why not just run the “Democrat Party” because their candidates vote the party line no matter what?
The Neil Gorsuch confirmation hearings are very telling on this point and Senator Leahy’s change of mind tells us that it is true. Leahy, more than others should be able to exercise independence on positions and votes, especially when they are guided by what the constitution expects when confirming a Supreme Court nominee. While it is hard to honestly question the qualifications of Judge Gorsuch, that is not really the issue here and we can give Leahy the benefit of the doubt in choosing to vote “no” to confirm.
The telling issue is his opposition to the never before used filibuster to block the nominee, that is, until he heard from “the party” As reported in the digger article: “Leahy’s comments sparked backlash from the left wing of the party, a bloc demanding universal opposition to President Donald Trump’s actions.” So, our independent Senator changed his mind in accord with the “demand” from “the party!
Wouldn’t you think our “Dean of the Senate” with his 42 years there would possess the strength enabling him to stand his ground on this position considering that “advice and consent” by the Senate was not to be given or withheld for political whim? The constitutional provision was there to keep the checks and balances strong and to prevent an unqualified candidate from being placed in a lifetime position without some way to prevent that. It was not to be used as a political tool against a President that ‘the party” hated and was hell bent on opposing no matter the cost to the Senate or the Nation.
While not perfect, the Republicans are not as talented in lock-stepping as the Democrats who do it so well both at the state and national level. If Leahy cannot buck “the party” on something so clear as this, then who can?