Roll Call! Senate Votes to Legalize Marijuana

Roll Call Graphic
in the State Senate on February 24, 2016 by a vote of

Purpose: To legalize, regulate, and tax the sale of marijuana in the State of Vermont. (Read the Bill)
Analysis: Those voting YES on this this bill supported legalizing marijuana in the state of Vermont for citizens over 21, taxing sales of marijuana at 25%, prohibiting “home grown” marijuana as well as edible forms of the product. The law would establish a small number of licenses to grow and distribute marijuana (30 retail outfits), which would cost in total $20 million in fees to obtain. Under this bill, Vermonters would be allowed to buy half an ounce of the product, and out of state residents would be allowed a quarter of an ounce. The law would take effect in January 2018.
Those voting NO did so on the grounds that this sends the wrong message to Vermont youth while we are in the midst of a greater drug addiction crisis in the state, and the fact that several law enforcement issues have not been solved, such as how do we detect and prosecute driving under the influence and implications for job related drug testing.
While there may be some or even many reasons to consider the legalization of marijuana, this bill is fraught with concerns.
First is the 25% tax on sales. This is confiscatory. If pot is such a dangerous sin that it needs to be taxed at this rate, it calls into question whether it should be legal at all. If the principal reason for the state doing this is to raise revenue, this is the wrong reason. It essentially makes the state a drug dealer.
Second, by disallowing “home grown” marijuana for personal use, while at the same time seriously restricting the number of licenses for legal growers/distributors the legislature has created a recipe for cronyism – a few politically connected people getting rich off of a government protected monopoly. It still maintains a significant degree of criminality surrounding what would be a legal product.
Senate Journal, Wednesday, February 24, 2016. “Thereupon, third reading of the bill was ordered on a roll call, Yeas 16, Nay 13.” (Read the Journal, p.150-211).

How They Voted

(Click on Your Senator’s Name to Send an Email)

Timothy Ashe (D/P-Chittenden) – YES
Claire Ayer (D-Addison) – YES
Becca Balint (D-Windham) – NO
Philip Baruth (D-Chittenden) – YES
Joseph Benning (R-Caledonia) – YES
Christopher Bray (D-Addison) – NO
John Campbell (D-Windsor) – NO
Brian Campion (D-Bennington) – YES
Brian Collamore (R-Rutland) – NO
Ann Cummings (D-Washington) – YES
Dustin Degree (R-Franklin) – NO
William Doyle (R-Washington) – NO
Margaret Flory (R-Rutland) – NO
M. Jane Kitchel (D-Caledonia) – NO
Virginia Lyons (D-Chittenden) – YES
Mark MacDonald (D-Orange) – YES
Richard Mazza (D-Chittenden-Grand Isle) – NO
Norman McAllister (R-Franklin) – SUSPENDED
Richard McCormack (D-Windsor) – YES
Kevin Mullin (R-Rutland) – NO
Alice Nitka (D-Windsor District) – NO
Anthony Pollina (P/D/W-Washington) – YES
John Rodgers (D-Essex-Orleans) – YES
Richard Sears (D-Bennington) – YES
Diane Snelling (R-Chittenden) – NO
Robert Starr (D-Essex-Orleans) – NO
Michael Sirotkin (D-Chittenden) – YES
Richard Westman (R-Lamoille) – YES
Jeanette White (D-Windham) – YES
David Zuckerman (P-Chittenden) – YES
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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Sherri Lorette February 26, 2016 at 11:22 pm

What is wrong with these people in Montpelier? What are they, high?


Mark Donka February 27, 2016 at 8:02 am

This will become a much larger problem as time goes on. Colorado has already seen a spike/rise in need for public assistance. People are moving there for the legal marijuana then when they run out of money they stay and go on public assistance. Our welfare rolls are high in VT now, it will be very interesting what the numbers look like when it is legal for a year or 2. Not to mention the increase in medical services and vehicle crashes.


Pam Loranger February 27, 2016 at 12:57 pm

We have yet to solve Vt Heath Disconnect, Act 46 is a sham, 2014 broken campaign promises (reduce property taxes???) litter the floors of the Golden Bubble so why not chase another Unicorn while Rome burns?


R. Lee Walther February 27, 2016 at 7:00 pm

More D’s voted against this bill than the few R’s who voted for it. (Joe Benning and Richard Westman, what were you thinking?) Put another way, had Republicans stuck together on this one, this ill-conceived bill would have been handily defeated. Let’s just hope the House kills it before it becomes law under the eager pen of the worst Governor this state has ever endured. rlw


buzz March 1, 2016 at 7:29 pm

They don’t give a rats a_ _ about how this will affect the state. All these “Tax Whores” see is that 25% tax on a product only the state can supply.


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