Any vote to permit a medical marijuana dispensary in Vermont (“Pittsford mulls pot dispensary in town, (Nov. 9, p. 1) is an egregious mistake unless a certain condition is attached to it.
As town after town across the U.S. allows dispensaries, the tobacco companies will seize on the emergence of long-unrecognized public toleration of marijuana use to capture the market. They will fund Astroturf and genuine activist groups to de-criminalize it, and once that is accomplished, they will proceed to peddle it to children the same way that they peddle cigarettes. They will also lobby Congress for freedom from regulation in doing so. The result will be similar to the for-profit opium trade in 19th-century China, where it was estimated 115 million were addicts.
The only possible way to have a medical marijuana dispensary trigger this scenario is to attach a provision to a permit that the government control the production, marketing, distribution and sale of the product. This will bar commercial interests from again poisoning for profit.
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