Drugs America's Marijuana Legalization Hotbed Ain't on the West Coast, It's in ... New England?

No state east of the Mississippi has legalized marijuana, but the land of Yankees has several states that could free the weed this year.

No state east of the Mississippi has legalized marijuana, but that's very likely to change this year, and New England will be leading the way. Two of the six New England states will likely let the voters make the call in November, while the others all have legalization bills pending.

So far, with the exception of Washington, DC, where voters elected to legalize the possession and cultivation, but not the sale of marijuana in 2014, all of the legalization action has been in the West. The four states that have legalized it so far—Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington—are all Western states.


Vermont Police No Longer Training K9s to Detect Marijuana

A report from the Barre-Montpelier Times Argus revealed that Vermont’s police force has stopped training its police dogs to detect the odor of marijuana.

According to the Times Argus, this is the first year that marijuana detection has not been part of the regular training of the state’s police dogs. The paper reported that the decision was partially influenced by the likelihood that Vermont will legalize marijuana in the near future, which would lead to the possibility that re-training police dogs to cease detecting marijuana would exhaust additional time and resources.


VT marijuana legalization clears 2nd hurdle

Medical marijuana clone plants at a medical marijuana dispensary in Oakland, Calif.(Photo: AP File)

Vermont's Senate Finance Committee approved marijuana legalization on Friday, moving the issue closer to the Senate floor.

The committee settled on a 25 percent tax rate. Sen. Tim Ashe, D-Chittenden, said earlier that the committee's task was to set a tax rate that would make marijuana cheap enough to compete with the existing black market.

The Finance committee also changed the proposed possession limit to one half an ounce. The previous version of the bill set a 1-ounce limit.

The vote comes two weeks after the bill cleared the Senate Judiciary, which focused early in the session on drafting a legalization bill.


Another Vermont Senate Committee Approves Marijuana Legalization Bill

The Vermont Senate Committee on Finance approved a bill (6-1) on Friday that would end marijuana prohibition in the state and regulate marijuana for adult use. The bill was approved by the Senate Committee on Judiciary on January 29, and it will now be considered by the Senate Committee on Appropriations.


Vermont police dogs won’t search for pot

BARRE — Vermont police dogs are no longer trained to recognize the smell of marijuana, a decision made in preparation for possible marijuana legalization.

“The class that is going through right now is not being trained to alert on marijuana odor,” said Robert Ryan, Vermont’s head K-9 training coordinator.

This year marks the first Vermont Police Academy K-9 class in which marijuana is left out of the training.

“We started talking about it last year and we made the decision for this class to not do marijuana,” said Ryan.

The reason according to Ryan, is the assumption that Vermont will legalize marijuana. “And if for some reason it doesn’t become legalized, it’s an odor that (dogs) can be trained to alert on later.”


University of Vermont to Launch Country’s First Medical Cannabis Course

This Spring, the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Vermont’s College of Medicine will be launching what is believed to be a first: A college-level course dedicated entirely to medical cannabis.

Despite the drug being illegal to possess and/or distribute, and being notoriously difficult to research due to strict Federal scheduling, two of the University’s professors are determined to make medical cannabis a part of the curriculum. Karen Lounsbury, PhD, and Wolfgang Dustmann, PhD, hope to strip away the stigma surrounding cannabis in order to teach students the facts, without the fear.


Historic Marijuana Legalization Bill Advances in Vermont

A bill that would legalize marijuana and allow for regulated marijuana commerce is advancing.  Senate Bill 137  passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on a 4-1 vote.

The bill allows for marijuana to be sold in stores, but bans home cultivation. Only licensed commercial grows in safe, secure locations will be allowed.

[image:1 align:left]The Judiciary Committee vote to advance the measure came a day after six state physicians' groups came out against the bill, citing what they called the ill effects of marijuana.


Could Vermont Be the First State to Produce Artisanal, Socialist Marijuana?

The approach that Colorado, Alaska, and Washington have taken to legalizing marijuana can resemble the parking lot at a Grateful Dead show: a free-for-all that, while liberating, has produced only a hazy sense of where the party is going. Meanwhile, Vermont, contrary to its popular reputation for the free-wheeling life, is approaching the issue like the nerdy kid in an SAT prep course. Two years ago the state commissioned a massive RAND Corporation report on different approaches to legalization, and last year top state officials flew to Colorado to see for themselves how legalization has been working out in the Rocky Mountains.


Should Bernie Sanders’ Home State Embrace Socialized Cannabis?

As one of Vermont’s approximately 2,500 official medical marijuana patients, Robert Gwynn is excited his state lawmakers are considering legalizing cannabis. Born with neurofibromatosis type 1, a tumor disorder that has left him with debilitating nerve pain, limited appetite and ongoing fatigue, the 31-year-old has been part of the state’s medical marijuana program for the past two years. Medical marijuana, he says, has helped him halve his 14-pill-a-day pharmaceutical regimen, which had left him so mentally disconnected from reality he was afraid to drive. But he thinks a recreational market could encourage the sort of competition, proficiency and price constraints lacking in the state’s current system of four nonprofit dispensaries statewide.


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