Basic rational change sometimes requires dragging the establishment along, kicking and screaming

Interesting article from the Washington Post’s Amber Phillips: Analysis: How Vermont could change the marijuana legalization game

But up until now, change has mostly come from the voters — sometimes in spite of lawmakers’ wishes. That balance could be shifting toward legislators, at least in one state: Vermont. In the next few weeks, Vermont could become the first state legislature to legalize marijuana. […]

But unlike Colorado and Washington, which legalized marijuana in a matter of months after voters approve it, Vermont would wait more than a year after the bill’s passage before residents could walk into a store and buy a joint.

If Shumlin signs the bill this summer, Vermont residents won’t be able to buy marijuana legally until January 2018. For the first few years, the state will also limit the number of marijuana licenses for selling and growing marijuana. In addition, public schools in Vermont would receive state-mandated drug education programs about marijuana a full semester before it’s legal.

The slow, methodical approach to legalization is the main difference between Vermont and other states that legalized it via ballot initiatives, […]

No, the big difference is that legislators are finally starting to catch up with the public. The reason that most marijuana legalization has come from ballot initiatives is because the politicians aren’t doing their job. And fine, if Vermont wants to painfully draw out the legalization procedure despite any evidence that such caution is warranted, go ahead. At least it’s better than the status quo which has also existed for decades without any evidence.

In the article, the usual players (Kleiman, Sabet) were brought out to push the boogieman of big, unregulated, marijuana. And I will say this again — I’m not really interested in what someone has to say about how to legalize marijuana, when they weren’t interested in legalizing marijuana at all until it became a certainty.

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