By Guy Page
Do policymakers in Vermont and other states really want to know what happens when marijuana is sold legally and commercially? The U.S. Attorney for Colorado wants them to know.
The day after another prominent Vermont Republican candidate announced support for ‘tax and regulate’ commercial sale of marijuana, the U.S. Attorney for Colorado – where commercial pot has been legal since 2013 – wrote a Denver Post editorial warning elected officials everywhere the unexpected, real-world problems they’ll face if they commercialize marijuana.
Rep. Corey Parent (St. Albans City), a candidate for State Senate, publicly joined Lieutenant Governor candidate Rep. Don Turner and Attorney General candidate Rep. Janssen Wilhoit (St. Johnsbury) as reluctant-but-confirmed backers of ‘tax and regulate.’ Like Turner and Wilhoit, Parent thinks ‘tax and regulate’ is the least-bad form of marijuana legalization, he said in a September 27 email to Headliners:
“I was one of the Republicans like Don Turner, who disagreed with the legalization of marijuana and still do,” Parent said. “But if it’s here to stay – I think the way in which we did it is awful. It doesn’t eliminate the black market, It doesn’t stop dealers from lacing it with other drugs. I think it should be regulated and taxed if it is to remain legal.
U.S. Attorney for Colorado Robert Troyer says tax and regulate hasn’t solved either the black market or the quality control problem – or virtually any other problem of ‘recreational’ pot legalization. He tells other states, beware: virtually every supposed benefit of ‘tax and regulate’ has been proven wrong in Colorado. Furthermore, U.S. Attorney Troyer plans to go after ‘legal’ marijuana stores that have been selling illegally-grown marijuana.
The Troyer op-ed is linked here in the hopes that Vermont policymakers will read it and step back from tax and regulate. If the Vermont Legislature commercializes pot sales and the expected problems occur, its members cannot honestly say they weren’t warned.
Statehouse Headliners is intended primarily to educate, not advocate. It is e-mailed to an ever-growing list of interested Vermonters, public officials and media. Guy Page is affiliated with the Vermont Energy Partnership; the Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare; and Physicians, Families and Friends for a Better Vermont.