By Guy Page
Robert Troyer, the former U.S. Attorney for Colorado, will testify about S.54, tax and regulation of marijuana, Thursday morning in the House Government Operations Committee.
Troyer, a Democrat and appointee of the Obama administration, will testify by phone or video. As the top federal law enforcement official in the first U.S. state to tax and regulate marijuana sales, he has a unique perspective and background. As a Democratic appointee, he has no political reason to be a marijuana “hard-liner.” Yet in September, 2018 he described the impact of Colorado marijuana legalization in less than glowing terms:
- Now Colorado’s youth use of marijuana is at a rate 85 percent higher than the national average.
- Now marijuana-related traffic fatalities are up by 151 percent.
- Now 70 percent of 400 licensed pot shops surveyed recommend that pregnant women use marijuana to treat morning sickness.
- Now an indoor marijuana grow consumes 17 times more power per square foot than an average residence.
- Now each of the approximately one million adult marijuana plants grown by licensed growers in Colorado consumes over 2.2 liters of water — per day.
- Now Colorado has issued over 40 little-publicized recalls of retail marijuana laced with pesticides and mold.
- And now Colorado has a booming black market exploiting our permissive regulatory system — including Mexican cartel growers for that black market who use nerve-agent pesticides that are contaminating Colorado’s soil, waters, and wildlife…..Marijuana commercialization has led Colorado to these places.
Also scheduled to testify are Dr. Kim Blake, a Burlington-area physician and mother, and Winooski school district students interested in substance abuse prevention.
H.444, ranked choice voting, also will be discussed Thursday in House Government Operations. Josh Knox, a former independent candidate for Vermont Senate, will speak in favor. The bill, sponsored mostly by independents and Progressives, would allow voters to rank their choices. If no candidate wins 50 percent, the voters’ second choice would be added until a candidate reaches 50 percent.
Ranked choice voting was tried briefly in Burlington, and gave the 2009 mayoral election to a Progressive, even though Republican Kurt Wright was the leading vote-getter and winner according to traditional voting practices. Burlington rescinded ranked-choice voting in 2010.
Other bills and issues in House committees this week can be seen in their entirety at In Committee, a weekly service of Vermont State House Headliners that includes most scheduled House committee events on a single page. They include:
- H.67 workers’ comp, Wednesday in House Commerce
- Dept. of Corrections budget and transgender policy, Tuesday in Institutions
- Fossil Fuel Infrastructure, Tuesday in House Energy
- S.23 minimum wage in General Housing & Military Affairs Tuesday
- S.54 cannabis in General Wednesday and Gov Ops Thursday
- S.68 Indigenous People’s Day in General Wednesday
- Prop 5 abortion amendment Tuesday in Human Services
- S.86 21 year old smoking age Wednesday in Human Services
- S.37 medical monitoring in Judiciary.
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.