Earlier this week, I wrote a post about the marijuana debate entitled “They labored mightily and brought forth a mouse.”
Turned out I was overly optimistic, because the mouse didn’t make it.
No legalization. No grow-your-own. And as for the House’s idea of a study commission (thx to Seven Days’ Terri Hallenbeck, who never would’ve gotten this into the Free Press):
“Fuck the commission,” a frustrated Senate Judiciary Committee chair Dick Sears (D-Bennington) said after his effort to create a public advisory vote failed. “The commission was unnecessary.”
Agreed. Especially since the commission would have apparently been funded with money diverted from opioid treatment. Sheesh.
The only good thing about this: the House’s brilliant idea of a new saliva test for buzzed driving also failed. That’s the test with no clear scientific basis, according to a state-sponsored study.
Sears’ four-letter kiss-off came after the Senate failed to take up his last-ditch proposal for a nonbinding referendum on the November ballot. That debate produced this priceless bit of rhetorical overreach:
Sen. Becca Balint (D-Windham) made an impassioned plea to fellow Democrats not to use the ballot box to decide social issues. As a gay person with family members who were killed in the Holocaust, she said, “I can’t tell you how terrified I am when it comes to referendums. We don’t have control over what the questions are going to look like in future.”
Uhh… with all due respect, Senator, there are lots of states that allow binding referenda. We have yet to see a single successful petition drive in support of genocide.
Anyway, it’s back to Square Zero for proponents of legalization. The Legislature’s ever-present Chicken Little impulse broke out at a bad time for the issue. Pretty much everyone agrees that legalization is inevitable; by the time we get around to it, at least a couple of our New England neighbors will likely have beaten us to the punch.
A major problem was the dissension in the ranks between those who wanted a commercial marketplace and those who favored the home-grown approach. If we wait until other nearby states have legalized, we may have little choice but to join whatever commercial market has developed on a larger scale by then. We may well have missed our chance to shape a marketplace to our liking.
So yeah, fuck the commission.
Postscript. I was disappointed to see that the Burlington Free Press is leaning heavily on the AP’s Dave Gram for its Statehouse coverage during the closing days of the session. Nothing at all against Dave, he’s a fine reporter; it’s just that I expect more of the state’s biggest newspaper. It’s now focused its dwindling resources almost entirely on the Burlington area — and on content that’s clickbait-driven and advertiser-friendly as well. A once pretty good paper continues its descent into irrelevance.
Protest too much-much Ms Balint? Waay too full of self as evidenced by Reformer column, primarily mere showcase of all-things-Balint which pretty much sucks. Calling bs on straw-man
poster childing of self as a victim which exploits real victims of hate crimes thereby reducing them to cheap talking points.
What high-and-mighty elitist lawmakers really don’t want is daylight on routine inaction(s) or what voters really want to see done. Referendum a powerful tool as well as pulse in real-
time which could — and should — become a regular occurrance & listing of *all* issues of the day. Much more accurate than polls highlighting what ‘We The (little) Ppl’ want done in contrast to what is actually getting done.
Can’t have that pesky “media” (us) telling them what to do now- and oh btw- we don’t need no stinkin’ ethics commission. As the revolving door spins ever faster with each scandal out-scandalizing previous scandal(s) These evils make VT a magnet for the creeps we already suffer- those who do not seek office to serve us but primarily themselves. Unless this changes VT will never realize our full potential or have an economic/tax structure which all contributors and those in need can win.
All entities that studiously reject rather than embrace transparency in fact also reject democratic process and clearly have much to hide.
Calling bs on litany of the so-called problems LE conjures routinely. As usual FOS and use every issue to promote, protect & further own & DHS agenda at the expense of VTers
via enablers in statehouse such as chief-enabler & LE surrogate Dicky Sears. As long as the likes of Dick Sears remain in power — clearly in the pocket of LE — expect nothing meaningful re mary jane legislation which benefits VTers rather than new toys, trinkets & increased LE powers. Unless he & allies are shitcanned by voters or stripped of commitee assignment kiss it goodbye.
Mass traffic detentions by LE demanding cheek-swabs all over US by Feds were once wide-spread unclear of status. So plot by LE to employ cheekswabs in VT under pretext for detection of THC speaks volumes of true intent- to further ongoing mass data collection-dragnet exploits here in our fair state. Clearly don’t want to admit what the rest of us already know — it’s not a problem — therefore a nonissue.
And there’s the scantily reported scandal of two lab workers who reported rogue coworker at VTs’ State Lab falsifying settings on alc-sensor breathalyzers supplied to all VT LE. My my, and just who are the beneficiaries…can’t really see anyone but LE & prosecuters.
Detection devices largely unnecessary. For decades we had roadside sobriety tests wich actually *proved* impairment with *actual evidece*. So only need for alc-sensor should be to determine bac upon fail. Impairment for responsible drinkers is actually .10. This is why we should return to an evidence-based system which would then include the lower bac upon fail including tokers under influence of both.
But testing devices are in fact employed to vastly widen LE dragnet to include many who are in fact innocent. LE budgets, paychecks, funding & personel all based upon perversely increasing presence of crime with their misleading data.
This is not done to keep VTers & roads safe but to create an underclass to finance criminal justice system wich includes prison-industrial complex & vast array of LE, courts, corrections, lawyers. And now aforementioned parasytes wish to use pot legalization to greatly increase scope & continuing to misuse the deceptive ‘data’ to further own interests.
Vermont taxpayers who elect & bankroll all of this deserve better. Get rid of the f’king lobbyists who finance the lawmakers to oppose our interests & lawmakers who are their, and not our allies.