David Wilson

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin announced in his State of the State address Thursday that he will move to legalize cannabis through legislative action.

Governor Shumlin, a Democrat, said that more than 80,000 residents of Vermont had said they used marijuana in 2015. In order to combat the resultant black market, Shumlin said, legislators should work to legalize and regulate cannabis.

“That’s why I will work with you to craft the right bill that thoughtfully and carefully eliminates the era of prohibition that is currently failing us so miserably,” said Shumlin.

Vermont is one of 20 states that have decriminalized marijuana possession.

If the Governor succeeds, it will mark the first time legalization has been achieved the legislative process rather than the ballot box.

Shumlin described his vision of Vermont’s legal market as one in which marijuana would be available to adults and would be taxed at a rate low enough to get rid of the black market. Shumlin also said that the sale of edibles should be banned.

Revenue from marijuana taxes would be used for addiction prevention and treatment as well as helping law enforcement handle impaired drivers.

The Drug Policy Alliance applauded Gov. Shumlin’s announcement. “I’m hopeful this is the start of a new trend,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the DPA.

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