Zeal for the deal to sell and tax marijuana is ignoring important health issues and unintended consequences, a Democrat lawmaker from Chester told his party caucus Tuesday. Many other questions about S54 to legalize pot followed Bock’s statement. Confident, unanimous support from House Democrats? It’s not there yet. And there’s plenty of pushback from towns who want more say and more money than most legalization supporters want to give them.
“My heart is not in this bill,” Rep. Thomas Bock (D-Chester) said during the weekly caucus of House Democrats at the State House. “You’re introducing another drug problem. We’re not paying for the social costs. We’re just adding another layer of health problems. And we are going to rue the day when we brought it in.”
20 municipalities as of Jan. 13 had signed a Vermont League of Cities and Towns resolution insisting “opt-in” and a 5% local cannabis sales tax be included if the bill is passed. The towns are: Arlington, Barre Town, Brattleboro, Cambridge, Derby, E. Montpelier, Guilford, Hartford, Londonderry, Newfane, Pittsford, Richmond, Rockingham, Topsham, Shelburne, Springfield, Stowe, UTG (Essex County), Waterbury, Williston, Windsor, West Rutland, West Windsor, and Winooski. Also, Newport and Clarendon have both passed municipal bans in anticipation of S54 becoming law.