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December 13, 2012

Leahy Calls for Senate Hearing on Pot Policy

PotplantNow that Colorado and Washington have legalized possession of up to an ounce of marijuana, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) wants to know how the Obama administration will enforce federal laws prohibiting pot.

On Thursday, Leahy called for a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which he chairs, to discuss the discrepancy.

"Federal policy and now state policies are in conflict and so that raises the question of how that conflict will be resolved," says spokesman David Carle.

Leahy's office also released a letter the senator sent last week to Office of National Drug Control Policy director Gill Kerlikowske seeking clarity on the White House's position.

"What assurances can and will the administration give to state officials involved in the licensing of marijuana retailers that they will not face federal criminal penalties for carrying out duties assigned to them under state law?" Leahy asks Kerlikowske in the letter.

Leahy's letter hints that the senator could be open to changing federal law to legalize small amounts of marijuana — at least in Colorado and Washington.

"Legislative options exist to resolve the differences between federal and state law in this area and end the uncertainty that residents of Colorado and Washington now face," he writes. "One option would be to amend the Federal Controlled Substances Act to allow possession of up to one ounce of marijuana, at least in jurisdictions where it is legal under state law."

But asked Thursday whether Leahy would support such an amendment, Carle demurred.

"He has not taken a view on decriminalization and does not weigh in on state matters," Carle said.

November 29, 2012

This Week's Paper: A Reporter With a Record; Marijuana Dispensaries Face Financial Pressures

618-f-drugwarIn this week's print edition of Seven Days, you'll find these bits of news:


October 26, 2012

Blotto By The Numbers: Just How Outrageous Was The Barstool Blackout Event?

Drunk partyOn Monday, Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger publicly lambasted the promoters of last Friday night's Barstool Blackout DJ dance party at Memorial Auditorium for promoting "intoxication and wildness," after 16 local young-uns ended their evening in the emergency room or  detox unit.

According to the mayor, the city dropped the ball by not adequately vetting the promotional material of the 18-and-over rave-like fest. Presumably, someone at the city assumed the "barstool" referred to a breakfast bar, and "blackout" a temporary power outage.

OK, we totally get it that Mayor Buzzkill has to show a zero tolerance for underage binge drinking. But just how out of the ordinary is it for more than a dozen kids to wind up in the drunk tank after a Queen City bash?

Short answer: It depends.

Continue reading "Blotto By The Numbers: Just How Outrageous Was The Barstool Blackout Event?" »

October 17, 2012

The Fact Checker: Were More than a Million Doses of Oxycodone Prescribed in Rutland County Last Year?

Factchecker-mostlytrueEach week in Fact Checker, reporters and editors from Seven Days and will evaluate the veracity of statements and rate them on a five-point scale: True, Mostly True, Debatable, Mostly False and Udder Bull. This week's Fact Checker was written by Andy Bromage.

CLAIM: Last year, more than a million doses of Oxycodone were prescribed in Rutland County. That amounts to 17 pills for every man, woman and child in the county.
— Vermont Public Radio, October 15 

FACTS: This week’s Fact Checker investigates a number that popped up in a recent Vermont Public Radio report about the growing drug-addiction problem in Rutland. In her story, VPR reporter Nina Keck quoted Clay Gilbert, director of an outpatient treatment center in Rutland, relaying a jaw-dropping figure he heard from a pharmacist at a community forum.

Continue reading "The Fact Checker: Were More than a Million Doses of Oxycodone Prescribed in Rutland County Last Year?" »

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