Vermont Doctors Oppose Marijuana Legalization
In response to a bill introduced this week by Vermont lawmakers that would legalize marijuana in The Green Mountain State, a group of Vermont Doctors have come together to voice opposition to the idea.
The group of doctors, which includes representatives from six of Vermont’s largest physician organization, gathered at the Vermont Statehouse in Montpelier to urge lawmakers to vote against the bill.
“Even if one accepts the premise that the state of the science is somewhat unsettled, and we don’t really know what the harms of cannabis might be, or how legalization might affect cannabis use, that sounds to me like a pretty good argument that maybe we are not ready to rush into a decision that will prove difficult if not impossible to reverse in the future,”
said Dr. David Rettew, an associate professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the University of Vermont College of Medicine.
In addition to concerns over the uncertainty that continues to accompany discussions of whether or not cannabis is safe, others in the group are concerned that legalization will send the wrong message.
Dr. John Porter, a spokesperson for the Vermont Medical Society, said that legalizing marijuana would serve as “the ultimate stamp on normalization.”
“It is a message from the elders of our society in the form of our legislators that the behavior must be safe and acceptable. And we’re here today because our concerns tell us just the opposite.”
Vermont’s proposal to legalize marijuana has drawn significant attention since, if it passes, it would be the first time for marijuana legalization to occur entirely through legislation, rather than through voter initiatives.
Under the terms of the bill, adults 21 and older who are residents of Vermont would be allowed to purchase and possess one ounce of marijuana, while out of staters would be allowed to purchase a quarter ounce.
All legal sales would go through licensed retailers.
So far, Governor Peter Shumlin has been an enthusiastic supporter of the bill.