MONTPELIER – Vermont law enforcement officers are on the heels of the legislature, waving red flags, saying they fear decriminalization of marijuana could be more than a pipe dream.
Bill S.48 proposes to change the penalty for possessing an ounce or less of marijuana from a crime to a civil offense. A person under 21 caught with marijuana would face the same penalties as possession of alcohol.
An ounce of marijuana would be about half a sandwich bag.
Orleans Sheriff's Department Deputy Phil Brooks said professionally he wouldn't support the bill. "We have methods in place for detecting drivers who are operating under the influence of alcohol," said Brooks. "As of right now, there is nothing really established that is in place that would allow us to detect if someone is driving under the influence of marijuana. It is a drug and does affect your ability to drive and your reaction times."
For more of this story, see Friday's edition of The Newport Daily Express for March 15, 2013.