Having served on the Health and Social Services committee continuously since 2004, I recognize the extreme harm that the use of alcohol in our state causes. Alcohol use beyond moderation causes loss of inhibition and promotes aggression, contributing greatly to domestic violence and to child abuse. Although I do not use marijuana, my experience with others who do is that they mellow-out and are not aggressive. Any conversion from the use of alcohol to cannabis I would see as a net positive to the social fabric.
For this reason I supported the Marijuana initiative in election debates in 2012.
The voters approved the initiative and we should listen to our constituents to implement the legalization in the most effective way. I see no necessity for a do-over vote when the industry has not even begun. The law gives local governments the ability, through local preferences to make individual policies, though if exercised on a broad scale it could circumvent the initiative intent.
I proposed an amendment in House Community and Regional Affairs committee to define cannabis clubs. This was based on information I had obtained at a seminar at the National Council of State Governments. If the intent was to have legal and defined quality of pot to replace black market untaxed pot, that only works is if there is a legal way to consume the product – thus my support for private clubs.
In all our hearings, edibles from concentrates seemed to be most complex and problematic. Therefore I introduced a bill to direct the board to focus on growing, testing, and sales, and delay the regulations for edibles for 6-months to a year. The ABC board assured us they could do the complete package, including edibles, on time. Therefore I did not attempt to move the bill.