The Vermont Cynic

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Students talk about legalizing marijuana

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Imagine April 20, the “marijuana holiday,” without the fear of being arrested.

This could happen in Vermont with a new bill that proposes the legalization of the drug.

“I think that legalizing it will make it less of a big deal,” junior Hannah Weiss said.

“It is the same thing that people say when they turn 21 about alcohol, it’s suddenly not ‘so cool,’ it’s just something that is allowed,” she said.

The bill, proposed by Sen. David Zuckerman, proposes that marijuana be regulated and taxed like alcohol, according to Marijuana Policy Project’s Feb. 24 press release.

“There are people who use marijuana and do fine with it,” said Jon Porter, the director of the Center for Health and Wellbeing. “But there is a subset that can have a real problem with it and that needs to be part of the conversation.”

Adults 21 and older would be allowed to have up to one ounce of marijuana as well as grow marijuana plants in their home, according to the press release.   

“[April 20] might become more of a holiday and less like ‘you’re cool if you participate,’” Weiss said.

In a non-scientific poll conducted by the Cynic of 92 UVM students, over 60 percent of students said they smoke pot regularly and over 90 percent said they would be in favor of legalization.

Currently, medical marijuana use for registered patients is legal in the District of Columbia as well as twenty-three other states including Vermont, according to governing.com.

The substance is also decriminalized to a certain degree in the state, meaning users are protected from being charged for possession and the conduct is treated similarly to a minor traffic violation , according to norml.org.

With the current restrictions on marijuana, 80,000 Vermonters classified themselves as “regular marijuana users,” according to a 2015 research report by the RAND Corporation.

Collectively, those 80,000 Vermonters consume between 15 and 25 metric tons of marijuana each year, according the report.

If marijuana was taxed and regulated like alcohol, Vermont could pull in between $20 and $75 million per year, according to the report.

“It’s really important that the taxes are being used for something good,” sophomore James McCoy said.

“For instance, in Colorado a lot of the taxes are going toward public education which is totally awesome. They are rebuilding schools and upping the education game,” he said.

McCoy said that if the drug was legalized, he would be against the importation of marijuana.

“I think subsidizing local farmers for marijuana would be totally cool,” he said.

In addition to subsidizing farmers, sophomore Dylan Funnell said he thinks that legalization may play a role in “toning down” marijuana’s presence in the black market and UVM student involvement in the surrounding crime.

“Hopefully it will get a lot of the drug dealers off campus,” Funnell said.

“I know that is something the University works toward,” he said.

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Students talk about legalizing marijuana