Matt Simon, New England political director of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), told Marijuana Moment that, “from a racial justice perspective, cannabis prohibition has been a disastrous public policy, and Vermont’s limited legalization law is only a modest improvement.”
“The legislators who developed S. 54 clearly intend to replace prohibition with an equitable, regulated industry—such as by prioritizing licensing for minority-owned businesses,” he said. “Further advocacy will be needed to ensure that the bill lives up to its promises, but the status quo is unacceptable and Vermont urgently needs to move forward.”
The people want pot. And while many efforts to open up new states to cannabis freedom were thwarted by the COVID-19 pandemic, we could still see major changes to the legal cannabis landscape by year’s end.
"We’re seeing a range of responses from supporters of marijuana reform. Some voters are relieved that they can securely vote using an absentee ballot or by voting early, while others are excited to go to the polls on Election Day. The campaigns are working to accommodate all preferences. We’re answering questions from voters and assisting with navigating the absentee and early voting processes in each state. Now more than ever, informing voters about the election process is crucial," said Matthew Schweich, MPP's deputy director.
Steve Hawkins, the Marijuana Policy Project’s executive director voices, “MPP appreciates the decades of support Playboy has offered the cannabis reform movement. Playboy recognizes that stigmatizing people because of personal choices in their lives can be the source of great injustice and harm, and their efforts to end that unfair treatment for cannabis consumers has long been a hallmark.”
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."