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Vt. police: Governor appears tolerant of marijuana

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 14, 2014 at 7:27 pm •  Published: March 14, 2014

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Vermont police organizations said Friday they oppose increasing the number of medical marijuana dispensaries in the state or legalizing the drug and that Gov. Peter Shumlin's administration appears tolerant of marijuana.

While commending Shumlin's efforts to address the opiate addiction problem in Vermont, the Vermont Association of Chiefs of Police, Vermont Sheriffs Association and the Vermont Police Association said in a press released that they are united against efforts for marijuana legalization.

The Vermont Legislature passed a law in 2011 that allows medical marijuana to be distributed from state-approved dispensaries. Last year, Vermont also removed criminal penalties for the possession of small amounts of marijuana. Criminal penalties were replaced with civil fines for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana or five grams of hashish.

The police statement was a response to a letter sent to police by the governor saying he's open to further discussion about marijuana policy in Vermont, said Douglas Johnston, association president.

"I think there is much Vermont can learn from Colorado and Washington in this regard. It is too soon to draw any evidence-based conclusions as to the public safety and public health effects of legalization in those states at this time," Shumlin wrote. "I assure you that any decision I make on possible legislation regarding the legalization of marijuana in Vermont will be based on careful examination of all the facts, including those related to public safety, public health, and costs."

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