REAL CHANGE: Vermont: Universal Health Care and State Distributed Cannabis

Paving the way for the rest of the country …

By Rhonda Winter

Lost this week amid the deafening cries for the bloody corpse of Osama bin Laden, is the fact that the state of Vermont has passed a single payer universal health care plan for all of its residents. On Thursday lawmakers in Vermont’s State House approved the final version of their universal health care bill on a 94-to-49 vote. Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin has stated that he will sign the bill into law.

In addition to accomplishing the gargantuan feat of providing a viable and affordable health care model for the entire country to emulate, this week Vermont’s lawmakers have also cleared the way for the enactment of the state-licensed distribution of medical marijuana. Today NORML’s blog reported that:

On Thursday, May 5, House lawmakers voted 99-44 in favor of Senate Bill 17, which allows for the state-sanctioned sale of marijuana to qualified patients. Under the bill, four dispensaries may be established to serve up to 1,000 patients. House lawmakers overwhelmingly decided to pass the measure despite warnings from the US Department of Justice claiming that the operation of such facilities could place citizens and state officials in conflict with federal law. Senators previously passed a version of SB 17 in April and are expected to concur with the minor changes made by the House. State Gov. Peter Shumlin supports the measure.

Vermont lawmakers legalized the use of marijuana as a medicine in 2004, but the law presently provides no legal source for cannabis aside from home cultivation.”

Currently, the states of Colorado and New Mexico are the only regions in the United States which authorize local government sanctioned distribution of cannabis. Although, it looks like that is starting to change. The green mountain state now not only has the magnificent Bernie Sanders for a senator, universal health care and state run cannabis dispensaries; is it perhaps time to move to Vermont?

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