On October 8, 2015

Marijuana legalization in the media

Dear Editor,

Virtually all media coverage depicts marijuana legalization as a done deal, just waiting for Shumlin’s signature in 2016. Vermont’s lawmakers and officials have stepped right in behind Shumlin and the paid marijuana lobby to make us believe this.

So far, it appears that those who defend legalization of social marijuana are those who take no particular responsibility for public health and safety. The arguments in favor are simplistic:  “personal freedom” and untold riches to be made. We may include the state of Vermont in this, as the state seems bent on becoming drug pusher to the whole East Coast.

Then there are the rest of us: parents, teachers, school counselors, law enforcement, health professionals, social workers, and any sensible adult, many of whom know marijuana at the ground level and oppose legalization. Because we are unorganized and have no lobby, we constitute a “silent majority.”

In Chittenden’s Town Meeting this year, a resolution instructing the legislature not to legalize recreational marijuana failed by a single vote. During the petition phase, conducted entirely in two weeks at the town transfer station, signers were literally grabbing the pen to sign, and bringing friends back to sign. Parents kept their curious children away from the petitioner and her clipboard, while they signed.

Now and again a stray letter to the editor appears, opposing legalization. It just remains for the rest of Vermont outside Chittenden County to make their opposition known, before Pandora’s box is opened up in 2016.

Julia Purdy, Chittenden, Vt.

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