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September 28, 2010

Legalization Question Goes up in Smoke at Council Meeting

Marijuana_leaf1 An effort to ask Burlington voters in November if they support the legalization, taxation and regulation of cannabis and hemp went up in smoke Monday night when the measure failed by a six-six tie vote of the Burlington City Council.

The resolution was offered by Councilor Emma Mulvaney-Stanak (P-Ward 3) and backed by five of her colleagues: Councilors Ed Adrian (D-Ward 1), David Berezniak (D-Ward 2), Sharon Bushor (I-Ward 1), Bram Kranichfeld (D-Ward 2) and Joan Shannon (D-Ward 5).

Those voting against the resolution were: Councilors Paul Decelles (R-Ward 7), Vince Dober (R-Ward 7), Nancy Kaplan (D-Ward 4), Bill Keogh (D-Ward 5), Karen Paul (I-Ward 6) and Kurt Wright (R-Ward 4).

Councilor Mary Kehoe (D-Ward 6) was absent and one Ward 3 council seat remains vacant.

A group of citizens had gathered about 1200 signatures, just shy of the 1600 needed to get an item on the city ballot. The ballot question would have been non-binding.

California and the city of Detroit are weighing in on the issue this fall, too.

The council deliberated on the motion for about a half hour. Several people spoke during a public forum in support of the measure, including independent candidate for governor Dennis Steele and independent candidate for lieutenant governor Peter Garritano.

Before the debate, Councilor Adrian passed around a bag of chocolate covered malt balls, "in case anyone gets the munchies during the discussion."

Adrian noted that "pot is not a panacea" but he thought it was worth allowing voters to weigh in on the issue to give lawmakers in Montpelier some guidance on the topic. Lawmakers have debated whether to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana. Montpelier voters in March voted three to one in favor of decriminalization.

Rep. Jason Lorber (D-Burlington) urged the council to support the resolution.

"Should we make alcohol illegal? We tried that and what happened was we were putting all of the profits into the hands of organized and sometimes unorganized crime," said Lorber. "The same is happening with keeping marijuana illegal."

It would have cost the city about $8000 to put the question to voters due to the cost of printing and distributing a citywide ballot, said Assistant CAO Scott Schrader. It would cost less if other questions were added. The Board of Finance is weighing whether to add a bond question for the Burlington Electric Department.

Councilors Decelles and Wright suggested the citizens should keep gathering signature and set a goal of getting the extra names in time for the March election.

"We don't put any time restriction for ballot questions, certainly between now and the March elections," said Wright. "They still have the ability to collect the signatures they need and come back."

how do i get my name on this petition?


Dude it's easy, you just have to go down to the... uh... what were we talking about again?

damn you, jimmy!

This is disappointing. But supporters of this measure should focus their attention on getting it before the voters at town meeting in March.

Burlington Telecom is failing, the Moran Plant project is falling apart, Burlington can't afford its pension obligations, and the City Council is spending its time condemning Arizona and discussing the legalization of marijuana? WTF?

First off, potheads, a locality can't legalize something that is illegal under federal law.

Second, before anyone even thinks about legalizing marijuana, they should talk to the good people of LA. The medical marijuana "legal dispensary" program there has turned into a nightmare of criminals and low-lifes setting up shops and ruining neighborhoods.

When I lived in Burlington, I ran for Governor of Vermont in 2002, and I was the only candidate on a Vermont Public Television Gubernatorial debate who spoke up for medical marijuana legalization - after Peter Shumlin had allegedly "tabled" the medical marijuana bill in the spring of 2002.

If I recall, Kurt Wright owned the Alcoholic Beverage store across the from the Senior Citizen/Disabled high rise on St. Paul Street in Burlington.

The majority of residents of that high rise signed my ballot access petition to put me on the ballot for Governor.

So, 230 St. Paul Street is one place to get signatures for marijuana legalization efforts. Senior Citizens and Disabled Persons do vote, and they vote reliably. They are internet sophisticated and aware individuals.

For the past seven years I have lived in southern Vermont. Citizens were very disappointed that Peter Shumlin "ordered to lie", "killed", "tabled" the medical marijuana dispensaries bill this spring; and the good
voters of Windham and Windsor Counties provided enough ballot access petition signatures to put me on the ballot for Governor of Vermont.

I am one of the seven candidates.

Cris Ericson

"A group of citizens had gathered about 1200 signatures, just shy of the 1600 needed to get an item on the city ballot. "

1200 signatures is not "just shy" of 1600. 1575 signatures is just shy. Come back with more signatures to get on the ballot, don't ask the council to intervene. They've got enough more pressing issues they should be dealing with.

Why did I have so many accidents to gain medical marijuana prescription in Vermont? I almost died in July 2007 an tried finding a doctor to sign my paperwork took me over 2 years to find a great doctor. Community Health Center has not a doctor that is smart enough to help my chronic pain they only give pharmacy objects as possibilities. Why should one be close to death or have sooner death to gain medicine anyone can grow in such a nice farming state? I want to help an have the paperwork for you to sign at my shop Ridin' High and want to stop the stupidest prohibition law I know! Stop in sign the paper to help save the great plant an farming capabilities we deserve!

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