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Not prepared to deal with legalization

In the 2013 legislative session, I voted in favor of the medical marijuana bill. I felt that the scientific argument was there and that adequate control was in place. In this session , I voted against the legalization of recreational marijuana. While many constituents are in favor of legalization, there are many unanswered questions.

The who, what, where and how this will be regulated are not in place. The potency standard of the drug has not been established. At what level a driver will be considered to be “under the influence” has not been set. The federal laws still make it illegal.

For those who would argue that it is no worse than alcohol or tobacco, I would point out that both of those legal substances cost state and our citizens more in medical treatment than we take in in taxes. In terms of smoking anything most of the damage is done by the smoke itself and not the drug involved. Unlike alcohol or nicotine, THC is fat soluble and stays in the system much longer.

Like most of you, I have been aware of marijuana for a long time. I have seen that for most people they can handle it in their lives. I have also seen those for whom it becomes their reason to live and they “drop out” of normal activity. I have a friend who looks forward to retirement, (in his job he is drug tested), so he can take it up again. Really, that is your goal?

I am in favor of reducing the penalty for possession of small quantities but, I don’t think we are yet prepared for full legalization.

Jon Manley of Bennington represents Hillsborough District 3, which includes Bennington, Greenfield and Hancock.

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