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Vermont's Governor Could Change How Your State Legalizes

No U.S. state has yet legalized the recreational use of marijuana through its legislature. But that may change in Bernie Sanders' home state in 2016.

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin wants to legalize through the General Assembly instead of the ballot box (as was the case with Colorado, Washington, Alaska and Oregon).

"The outdated War on Drugs has...failed, and there is no greater example than our nation's marijuana laws," Governor Shumlin said during his Jan. 7 State of the State address, where he outlined why he thinks legislators, not activist groups, should handle legalization.

Shumlin, a Democratic Party governor, sees legalization as primarily an issue of public safety. That's why he put child welfare as the top priority for repealing prohibition, followed by keeping taxes low so that the black market doesn't thrive alongside legalization. The only mention of money appeared when he talked about investing cannabis revenues in drug treatment programs.

Legalization is being considered by other state legislatures, but the governors are significant roadblocks in most of them. For example, New Jersey governor Chris Christie is opposed to legalization efforts in that state, and has vowed to veto any proposed bill. The same is the case in New Mexico and Kentucky.

Have a listen to his full remarks which begin at the 43:37 mark of this video.

h/t PBS


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