Vermont lawmakers are considering a bill that would create a retail market for marijuana.
The Senate Committee on Judiciary has been hearing testimony on legislation that calls for a 10% tax on pot sales.
Tom Anderson, Vermont’s Commissioner of Public Safety, told the committee Wednesday that he’s concerned about the impact of a retail market on Vermonters who don’t use cannabis, especially on the state’s highways.
“I hope part of your consideration will be from the majority of Vermonters that don’t use and have no interest using marijuana or any other drug as part of their recreational pursuits,” he said. “Their voices seem to have been forgotten.”
Mark Levine, Vermont’s Commissioner of Health, said he wants to see lawmakers earmark between $6 million and $8 million for prevention.
“We believe it would not only be unacceptable, but unconscionable, to have legislation that would create this kind of potential marketplace that would not at least make an effort explicitly to have a revenue stream going towards education, prevention and research,” he said.
Senators also heard from medical professional about how the lack of a regulated system is fueling the black market and failing the consumer.
“Dried flower sales have really decreased dramatically, and that is in reflection to the illegal market and how much dry flower is available,” said Shayne Lynn, executive director of Champlain Valley Dispensary.
The committee also heard testimony about whether or not edibles should be subject to the tax as currently proposed in the bill.