If our movement had insisted on every measure being perfect, Vermonters might still be criminals for possessing cannabis — medical or otherwise. S.54 and S.234 represent incredible progress for consumer safety, Vermont’s economy, and racial and social justice. They deserve Vermonters’ support and Scott’s signature.
"This final compromise is not perfect, but it represents a huge step forward for Vermont. If Gov. Phil Scott signs S. 54 into law, the state will finally begin regulating cannabis in a sensible fashion for both medical and adult use. State legislators bent over backwards to address the governor’s concerns in this legislation, and now it’s time for him to sign it into law," said Matt Simon, MPP's New England political director.
MPP Senior Legislative Counsel DeVaughn Ward discusses a new study by a UConn economist that predicts legal cannabis could bring the state nearly $1 billion in tax revenue over 5 years and create some 17,000 jobs.
"Legislators should be applauded for their patience and their persistence. Vermont urgently needs the jobs, business opportunities, and tax revenue that S. 54 will provide. We hope Gov. Scott will see the wisdom in signing this bill into law," said Matt Simon, MPP's New England political director.
Steven Hawkins, the executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project, said the Biden-Harris position on decriminalization was "encouraging" and shows momentum for cannabis reform at the highest level of government. However, it is still a "first step," he said. "Legalizing and regulating cannabis for adults is no longer a contentious position to take," Hawkins stated. "It is supported by a majority of Americans and it is the only policy that will truly end the war on cannabis."
"Removing criminal penalties for marijuana possession is an important first step. But as we have seen in states around the U.S., decriminalization alone will not stop the arrest and persecution of people of color—or so many others touched by the war on cannabis. It is only when we take a comprehensive approach through the framework of legalization that can we move away from the cycle of abuse," said Steve Hawkins, MPP's executive director.
The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) acts as a bridge between the activist and social justice community and the business community in cannabis, both of which want to see the creation of cannabis legislation for well regulated markets. MPP Executive Director Steve Hawkins spoke with New Cannabis Ventures about upcoming ballot initiatives the organization is helping to champion and how he sees the ground shifting toward nationwide support for legalization.
"It’s easier to repeal something like a 30% potency cap on flower than it is to pass a whole new bill. The things that aren’t great, we can improve over time. Overall, it’s a really strong bill that gets a lot moving," said Matt Simon, MPP's New England political director.