420 with CNW – Top Vermont Health Official Endorses Recreational Cannabis Legalization in the State

December 16, 2019 04:20:36

During a radio interview on Monday, Cynthia Seivwright, the director of the Department of Health’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Program in Vermont, said that compared to the current policy, public health would be better protected by regulating marijuana commerce in the state.

She made the remarks on WDEV’s Dave Gram Show while discussing the relationship between cannabis-related health issues and Vermont’s failure to regulate marijuana. Vermont goes down in the U.S. history books as the first to legalize marijuana by an act of lawmakers. The bill was then signed into law by Governor Phil Scott. The legislation permits low-level possession and household cultivation of marijuana but prohibits the sale of weed.

When asked if a regulatory model similar to that of alcohol would apply for marijuana, Seivwright said that without proper regulation, it would be impossible to know what it contains, nor would they be able to control the potency. She further added they would not be able to control accessibility.

Seivwright further said that marijuana should be tested in an independent lab. The packaging should not be appealing to kids and should be fitted with childproof caps.

Dave Silberman welcomed the marijuana legalization support exhibited by the Department of Health. Silberman is an attorney and pro bono drug reform advocate from Middlebury.

Speaking to a online marijuana industry publication, Silberman said that Vermont residents from all political parties are eager to pass a reliable system of regulation that prioritizes consumer safety and generates revenue. The revenues can be used by the Health Department to establish broader addiction prevention and treatment efforts. He further said that a robust regulatory system is better than just sitting pretty and wishing for a drug-free country. Silberman also noted that the Health Department is embracing a fact-based approach to marijuana, which aims at minimizing harm instead of stigmatizing the drug.

The state Senate passed the legislation legalizing marijuana sales, but the measure did not reach the House floor despite having passed at the committee level.

VT Digger reported that the House Speaker Mitzi Johnson (D) said that there is no guarantee that the legalization bill will pass in 2020 despite the Democratic leaders’ optimism of its advancement.

Johnson also noted that for the bill to be approved in the House, it would have to garner a minimum of 76 votes, and this shows that she has no intention of rounding up support. She further said that before approving the bill, issues such as youth consumption, roadside safety, and impact on the environment should be addressed.

Johnson’s stand on the bill is in contrast with the state’s Democratic Party, because it included marijuana marketplace legalization on its campaign platform in 2018.

When the bill failed to advance to the House, the Majority Leader Jill Krowinski assured the bill’s supporters that her party is committed to the legislation and that they would pursue it in 2020.

Industry watchers are strongly convinced that the words of the House Majority Leader don’t carry any weight before the cannabis industry, including entities like Green Hygienics Holdings Inc. (OTCQB: GRYN) and Plus Products Inc. (CSE: PLUS) (OTCQB: PLPRF), that would rather see concrete action instead of promises and speeches.

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