The move sets up the New England state to be the 17th in the United States to remove criminal penalties for having small amounts of pot. It does not go as far as Colorado and Washington, which in November became the first states to legalize possession, cultivation and use of marijuana by adults for recreational use.
Vermont’s House of Representatives on Monday gave final approval to a proposal to remove criminal penalties for adult possession of up to one ounce (28.3 grams) of marijuana and instead penalize with a civil fine, similar to a traffic ticket. Persons under age 21 caught with pot would be required to undergo substance abuse screening.
The House’s action upheld changes to the bill last week by Vermont’s Senate, including a provision that decriminalized possession of up to five grams of hashish, a potent pot derivative.<. . . . . READ MORE
Following ballot measures last November, producing and selling marijuana are now legal in both Colorado and Washington state. Several other U.S. states have decriminalized simple possession of marijuana, or allowed its medical usage. The latter is also the case in Canada.
The financial consequences of a complete and general legalization across the continent would certainly be huge.
Over the past couple of decades, billions of dollars have been spent fighting this unwinnable war, which has fuelled corruption, organized crime, and violence. Thousands of people are killed in drug fights every year in Mexico. In Canada and the U.S., it has justified growing government intrusion in commercial and private life, from the money-laundering bureaucracies to civil forfeiture laws.
Despite this, recreational use of drugs is as popular as ever.
The simple economic fact is that when there is a demand, a supply will be forthcoming — legally or illegally. We should therefore reconcile ourselves with what economists call “consumer sovereignty,” that is, let people consume what they want, and let’s prosecute only real crimes. . . . . READ MORE