Letters to the Editor: Middlebury rejects VLCT fear-mongering on pot

In his letter to the editor on September 20, Middlebury Selectboard Chair Brian Carpenter attempts to describe the Vermont League of Cities and Towns’ “new” position on marijuana legalization as something other than opposition.  This is absurd.
The new position states that marijuana “should only be legalized for recreational purposes after all public safety, public health, and local regulatory and budgetary concerns are adequately addressed.” While the VLCT has carefully massaged the language of its 2018 policy position to outwardly appear to be “neutral”, the fact remains that, under this policy, the VLCT will continue lobbying the Legislature and Governor not to legalize marijuana in 2018, because the anti-legalization leaders working hand-in-hand with the VLCT will never concede that their concerns have been “adequately addressed”, no matter what the Legislature does. This is not a “balanced” position on legalization as Mr. Carpenter stated; it is a merely a poorly camouflaged one.
The legalization of marijuana has not resulted in increased underage use, drugged driving, total crime, or law enforcement costs in Colorado, Washington, or any of the other 6 states that have already acted while our governor dithers with this issue.  States with safe and legal access to marijuana have seen large declines in opioid and opiate abuse, including 24% fewer overdose deaths.  Local tax-sharing revenues have exceeded expectations in those Colorado municipalities who’ve allowed retail dispensaries.  
The people of Middlebury have spoken loudly and clearly in rejecting exactly this sort of anti-legalization lobbying and fear-mongering by the VLCT.  The survey’s questions were not ambiguous, and the results were not close.  It is perplexing that any Middlebury Selectboard member, let alone the chair, should go to such lengths to convince himself of alternative facts. 
Dave Silberman

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