Cannabis “Reeferendum”

Article II – “Shall the Town [of Brattleboro] permit the operation of licensed cannabis retailers subject to such municipal ordinance and regulation as the Selectboard may lawfully adopt and implement?”

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It will now be legal to purchase spinach in state-approved shops, so long as it is not too fresh. Our political leaders hope that legalizing this popular vegetable with government-regulated distribution through specially-favored retailers, will squeeze out illegal growers and criminal spinach-pushers.

Seriously folks: 
I am having a hard time deciding how to vote. If I vote “no,” my vote will increase the anti-pot tally and be seen as opposition to legal marijuana. If I vote, “yes,” I will be voting for state-sponsored restraint of trade, meant to harm those of our friends who for decades took risks practicing illegal horticulture and free-enterprise, keeping us supplied.

Not only does a “yes” vote support monopolistic favoritism, but it means paying twice as much at a dispensery for an inferior product, which is prohibited from having more than a limited strength of THC. (Limiting THC is a health issue, because now you will have to put twice as much smoke in your lungs.)

“A friend of mine,” tells me that for years he has attended underground gatherings where pot sellers display their agricultural products, offering information about its characteristics and origin: “My brother grew this Sativa, it will stimulate creativity. Or if you want something mellow, try this Indica.”

Over time, “my friend” tells me, acquaintanceship, trust, and a sense of community develop. No doubt there are also fast-lane dealers who simply sell anything illegal; but — in a free-market environment — if lifestyle matters to you, then you can choose where and with whom to do business.

About a 2 years ago, I met a young fellow who is devoted to every aspect of growing pot. He earns a modest amount, but his passion is developing his expertise in types of grow-lights, genetic strains, soil, environmental conditions. He is totally enthused about this work, an honest and decent person.

The progressive politicians are complicit with criminalizing this individual, who is someone I am proud to know. It seems that this Vermont pot initiative is the product of a corrupt compromise between progressives, whose “realpolitik” requires that they make deals in order to appease authoritarians.

Hey… I have an idea! Why not let cannabis be just like spinach… grow it if you like, use it if you like, let the free market determine where it gets sold and at what price.

Comments | 4

  • The forum...

    Both Kurt and Rikki had similar views during the Brattleboro Selectboard Candidates Forum on Tuesday. We discussed regulating retail tomato sales….

    As for spinach, VT currently allows you to grow 4 immature spinach plants and 2 flowering ones, outdoors, if screened from view and accessible only by adults.

    Perhaps retail spinach will help in situations when your personal spinach supply drops?


    Again, more seriously: more than retail locations, I’d hope that Brattleboro comes up with a way to allow cannabis-friendly events and related-businesses, and I see this as a possible step in that direction. But it will take some determination and steering. An example – I think any organization in town should be able to get a temporary cannabis serving permit for special outdoor events. The ski jump should be able to arrange for a cannabis tent along side the beer tent. BMC and VJC should be able to offer cannabis at select events. The Latchis should be able to get a permit to serve cannabis and show films. Not all the time, just like they can’t serve liquor all the time. But if there is a special event, it should be possible.

  • Equity

    Yes, equity would only be fair, especially because alcohol use is so often linked to violence, and pot is…not…

  • The pot trade

    I personally would love a beautiful self-regulating system where anyone could grow, buy and sell pot to anyone. However, can anyone think of a single legal intoxicating substance that is not subject to some form of control in our society? One of the by-products of success (legalization) is the acceptance of some form of control. The big tobacco companies have been drooling over the money to be made by legalizing pot. The illegal international pot trade that we have lived with for many years is a violent mess. I support favoring the giving of licenses to those (largely people of color) who have been most harmed by the ‘war on drugs’. How about a regulation saying that you can buy and sell to anyone with whom you are on a first name basis? Small is beautiful. The problem is that the pot trade has the potential for producing many millions of dollars of profits – and tax revenues.

  • One potential problem... or need it be a problem?

    ADavis makes some good points.

    Where I see a potential problem — or maybe more of a mixed-bag — is that despite legalization, underground meetups for non-taxed, non-government regulated, free exchanges will, without doubt, continue.

    I love the idea of letting go restrictions if people are on a first-name basis, but can anyone really picture this happening? (Opponents will argue that even organized crime gangsters can call anyone with whom they are doing business, by their first name.)

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