Category Archives: Press Release

Vt. Marijuana Coalition Launches First Ads w/ Former AG

Vermont’s Former Top Law Enforcement Official Backs Effort to End Marijuana Prohibition in 2016, Appears in Ads Highlighting the Benefits of Regulating Marijuana

* Extended statement below from former Vermont Attorney General Kimberly Cheney — one ad attached and others at *

MONTPELIER — A former top state law enforcement official has thrown his support behind the effort to end marijuana prohibition in Vermont in 2016. The Vermont Coalition to Regulate Marijuana launched its first ads of the year on Tuesday, featuring former Vermont Attorney General Kimberly Cheney highlighting the benefits of regulating marijuana.

The coalition held a news conference at the Vermont State House to formally announce Cheney’s endorsement, display one of the ads, and express support for the vision Gov. Peter Shumlin laid out last week during his state of the state address. The ads can be viewed online at

Cheney served as Vermont attorney general from 1973 to 1975. Previously, he served as an assistant attorney general and was elected Washington County states attorney. He has held a variety of other civic positions and is a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). Cheney is available for phone interviews and can be reached via Matt Simon at 202-905-2025 or [email protected].

On Thursday, Gov. Shumlin said Vermont “[has] the capacity to take this next step and get marijuana legalization done right” in 2016, and he promised state lawmakers he will work with them to “craft the right bill that thoughtfully and carefully eliminates the era of prohibition that is currently failing us so miserably.”

Statement from former Vermont Attorney General Kimberly Cheney:

“As a former attorney general of Vermont, I am committed to bringing awareness to the failures of marijuana prohibition and working toward a safer Vermont. We can’t expect a different result by doing the same failed action over again. The only hope lies in a fundamentally different approach; without further delay, the Vermont Legislature should move forward with plans to regulate marijuana in 2016.

“Under current prohibition laws, marijuana isn’t controlled, so consumers don’t know what they’re getting. It is sold by criminals who don’t ask for proof of age and might expose consumers to other illegal drugs. Meanwhile, our enforcement officials waste their time punishing adults for simple marijuana possession.

“In a tightly regulated system, marijuana will be tested, labeled, and properly packaged. It will be sold by licensed businesses that ask for ID, sell only to adults, and do not expose consumers to other more harmful substances. Plus, law enforcement will be able to spend more time addressing serious crimes instead of enforcing failed prohibition laws.

“As we have in so many other ways, Vermont can once again be a leader, showing how a carefully crafted law can be a victory for justice and public safety.”


Broad Statewide Coalition Forms to Support Regulating Marijuana Like Alcohol in Vermont (2015)

Local advocates and organization leaders will hold a news conference in the Vermont State House at 11 a.m. ET on Tuesday, January 6 — the day before the general assembly convenes — to officially launch the Vermont Coalition to Regulate Marijuana

With the Vermont General Assembly set to convene this week, a group of citizens, organizations, and businesses from around the state is officially launching a coalition to support legislation that would end marijuana prohibition in Vermont and replace it with a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol.

State lawmakers are expected to consider such a proposal this year. They are scheduled to receive a report next week from researchers at the Rand Corporation, who were commissioned to investigate the potential effects of making marijuana legal for adults and regulating it in Vermont.

A group of local advocates, organization leaders, and business owners will launch the Vermont Coalition to Regulate Marijuana at a news conference at 11 a.m. ET on Tuesday — one day before the start of this year’s legislative session — at the Cedar Creek Room of the Vermont State House.  Among the coalition members attending the news conference will be Suzi Wizowaty, executive director of Vermonters for Criminal Justice Reform; Allen Gilbert, executive director of the ACLU of Vermont; Matt Simon, New England Political Director of the Marijuana Policy Project; Joseph McSherry, M.D.,Ph.D., a Burlington-based clinical neurophysiologist; and Fran Janik, a Jamaica (Vt.)-based photographer and medical marijuana patient.  A full list of current coalition members is available at

A strong majority (57%) of Vermonters support making marijuana legal for adults, taxing it, and regulating it similarly to alcohol, according to a Castleton Polling Institute survey released in May. The results are available at

“Vermonters are ready to end marijuana prohibition and replace it with a more sensible system,” Matt Simon said. “Regulating marijuana will take sales out of the underground market and allow for it to be controlled like other products that are legal for adults. Along with improving public safety, it will generate significant new tax revenue and create good jobs for our communities.”