Letter to the editor: Disappointed over marijuana votes

Disappointed over marijuana votes

With the recent vote against the commercialized use of pot in Vermont, I have to put in my two cents.

I am disappointed with the reasoning of the delegation who voted against this.

Here we had an opportunity to foster and expand business in Bennington and the state in general. Here we had an opportunity to fiscally and responsibly fight and treat addiction through taxes that would be generated and fund treatment and drug use prevention and we would not saddle Vermonters with fighting and treating this scourge. And here we had an opportunity to fill every hotel room and restaurant with customers who would spend locally.

It's "pie-in-the-sky" wishes that prevention could be funded with current efforts because those efforts are underfunded and the burden on Vermonters is mounting.

With our delegation's vote they all have sabotaged one of the BEST opportunities we have had to treat and fight addiction and generate the taxes that could treat addiction without saddling the cost on Vermonters.

It may be seen as a deal with the devil by legalizing the sale of and consumption of pot, but how does the legislature plan to deal with the cost of treating those with opiate/opioid addiction? Let's be honest with one another, people smoke pot in Vermont and dealers are reaping their profits at the peril of our police officer's lives and at tremendous cost in our courts and to Vermonters.

With the legal sale of pot in Vermont we could kill the illegal sale of pot, we could protect our police force, we could free up our courts from prosecuting non violent offenders from being jailed and stop paying a for profit prison system.

The excuse of not having a framework for funding treatment falls far of the mark and the benefit of taxing pot could save the state millions in the cost of treating addiction across the board.

We could fund drug addiction prevention through taxes generated in hotels, restaurants and pot sales and accomplish all the end goals we recognize are central to creating a more sober Vermont AND create new business opportunities in Bennington and the state.

I am, frankly, appalled that some of our delegation have bought into doing "Prevention right" is a good idea that would lead to a loss of revenue, a loss to the businesses in Bennington and a loss of revenue to the state!

I will concede, that in the best of all possible worlds, it would be wonderful if we didn't have to deal with addiction, but reality is quite different from our fondest wishes.

In closing, most of our delegation voted to close the door on revitalizing business in Bennington and the state in general and, furthermore, they have sabotaged the promise of a fiscally responsible way of treating addiction.

— Jim Carroll Bennington


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