Week 1 Voting Record of the 2018 Session

Wednesday, January 3 — View full Journal

  • No bills were taken up by the House.

Thursday, January 4 — View full Journal

  • H.511 – An act relating to Highway Safety
    • H.511 is a marijuana legalization bill that proposes to allow for personal cultivation and use of marijuana by responsible adults, which was passed by the Senate and House last year before the Governor vetoed it. Over the summer, a gubernatorial Commission was formed to research and report recommendations to policy makers. Despite his veto, the Governor eventually indicated he was prepared to support the bill. With the Governor and Senate prepared to move forward, this proposal was on the House calendar pending our 2018 return.

      Marijuana policy is a topic of many viewpoints. As I reviewed this bill and our options, I’ve tried to place the greatest weight on community feedback. I am grateful that so many neighbors have been in touch on marijuana policy. I believe that a number of legislators have moved to support some form of legalization after the changes at our borders in states like Massachusetts, Maine, and to the north in Quebec. If you look at the 2017 House vote totals compared to 2016’s, the change in attitudes is significant and represents an awareness that our neighbors’ laws will impact our state. Given this factor, and others, I don’t believe postponing action is the best option.

      There is a broad desire to move toward a more modern marijuana policy, as evidenced by the Governor’s willingness to support H.511 as amended. If the bill advances through the Senate and Governor, I am hope that the Governor’s Marijuana Commission will continue to provide a forum for concerns to be raised and challenges to be addressed. I also remain hopeful that Vermont will take additional steps to create a regulated market to better control the flow of marijuana and address prevention and treatment. I voted for a regulated market amendment last year and still think we need to put in place a system to address the production and sale of marijuana so we have adequate resources for youth prevention, transportation, and other needs.

      During the course of the debate, a variety of amendments were put forth, none of which the Judiciary Committee supported. Given that I had supported H.511 in 2017 and additional amendments lacked committee support, I voted against amendments that went beyond technical changes. The final bill passed by a margin of 81-63. I voted yes.

Friday, January 5 — View full Journal

  • No bills were taken up by the House.