According to a recent article in the Addison County Independent, a marijuana legalization survey posted on Middlebury’s municipal website and available in hard copy at the town offices elicited 773 responses. The results showed an overwhelming majority in support of full legalization in Vermont, citing tax and other economic benefits.
The survey, launched Aug. 14 by the town’s selectboard, sought to determine whether or not Middlebury should support the Vermont League of Cities and Towns (VLCT) current position in the 2018 legislative session. Currently, VLCT’s stance is that “[m]arijuana should not be legalized for recreational purposes until all public safety concerns are adequately addressed.”
- 71.15 percent favor legalization; 24.71 percent opposed it.
- 68.87 percent want the selectboard to not lobby against legalization; 27 percent would like to see lobbying against legalization
- 71 percent support the creation of a local tax on marijuana sales to fund local public safety. 16.5 percent opposed, and 12.55 percent were undecided.
- 78 percent agreed that regulation of brick and mortar storefronts should take place within the community
- 67 percent support the opening of marijuana businesses in certain areas of town; 24 percent say they should be banned from the community altogether.
Although Middlebury selectboard members will not offer an official opinion until their next meeting on Sept. 26, it appears that a majority of the selectboard seems to agree with the VLCT position.
“Are all the pieces in place to make it happen the way it should?” Selectboard member Heather Seeley responded. “I’m not convinced.”
Selectboard members were impressed with the record high number of responses that resulted from this municipal survey. They recognized a wider range of younger and older participants and noted that this offered a more representative set of opinions to consider.
With the survey complete, selectboard members have the task of squaring the survey results with their own views to decide how to best serve the community.
“I think regardless of how people feel about the legislation itself, our job is to look out for Middlebury, and I think the VLCT does a good job looking out for municipalities,” said Susan Shashok, a member of the selectboard.