Pushing for Full Marijuana Legalization

There are plenty of catch phrases to describe it. “Letting the camel’s nose into the tent,” or “the slippery slope.” But when medical marijuana opponents said that our new legislation was only the tip of the iceberg, and that proponents really wanted legal weed, they may have had a point. The proof is in the barely two months since our medical marijuana law went into effect and already there’s a push for full legalization of the drug.

Supporting several politicians who now support legalization publicly, we have organizations like LEAP in the state. Law Enforcement Against Prohibition is a group of police officers, judges and prosecutors who, because of their experience in enforcing drug laws, have come to believe that keeping drugs illegal does more harm than good. Even Governor Shumlin has said he would support a tax-and-regulate model for marijuana. This is the model being used in the only two states in the nation where cannabis is legal for all adults: Washington and Colorado.

According to reporting in The Valley News, legislators will hold an event next month to push for legalization, with LEAP representatives in the mix. “I think the discussion has to continue to occur while we're setting the table for the next couple years, and this is a great group to work with because it's frontline law enforcement officers talking about the reality of prohibition policies," said Sen. David Zuckerman, a Democrat/Progressive from Chittenden County.

It’s hard to believe that Vermont would take the plunge and go full-legalization this soon after approving medical use, but we are an independent-minded state, so it’s possible there would be movement before the next election cycle.

LEAP is a strong ally in a push for legalization. Because the traditional opponents of legalization respect members of the law enforcement community, former police officers have a strong voice. When they make an argument, even the most conservative leaning audience tends to listen, if not agree.

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