Phil Scott on Drugs



No resources for injection sites; no recreational pot

Siegel cited the overdose deaths of her brother 20 years ago, and [three others] more recently--each among the more than 845 Vermonters she said had died of overdoses since Scott became governor. Siegel said each would have lived if there had been an overdose prevention center available to them.

Scott replied, "We have done a lot of work together over the last six years" on saving lives, Scott said, but as a rural state, "we just don't have the resources" to put injection sites in every city and town. Scott also said he could not support the injection sites, which he called an experiment, "taking those resources away from the measures we know work. And I don't believe we should be legalizing small amounts of recreational drugs either. And I don't think we should be erasing the records of drug traffickers as well. I don't believe your strategy will save every single life."

Seigel replied, "If they were in overdose prevention centers, would have been saved."

Source: Brattleboro Reformer on 2022 Vermont Gubernatorial race , Oct 18, 2022

4-legged stool: prevention, treatment, recovery, enforcement

Asked if Vermont should consider increasing sentences for those who import fentanyl into the state, and what else the state might do to reduce the drug's deadly impact, Scott suggested that the state may need to renew its attention on enforcement. The state's opioid response requires the "four-legged stool" of prevention, treatment, recovery and enforcement, he said. "A lot of the gun violence we're seeing, especially in the Burlington area, has been due to this drug activity, illicit drug activity, and so we need to pay attention," Scott said. "Again, we can't just focus in one area. We need to focus on all the areas that make this work holistically.
Source: VT Digger on 2022 Vermont Gubernatorial race , Sep 16, 2022

Vetoed feasibility study on overdose prevention site

Siegel said [on drug policy] that Vermont should emphasize "harm reduction first." referring to policies focused on mitigating the most severe outcomes of substance use. And she said the state should ensure treatment and recovery on demand, including medically assisted treatment, and better fund mental health services.

Scott shot back that "harm reduction is a big part of our strategy. It is something that we need to pay attention to, but it isn't about the so-called safe injection sites," he said.

Indeed, Siegel immediately brought up Scott's veto of a bill last session that would have commissioned a feasibility study on opening an overdose prevention site--a place where people can use illicit drugs without fear of arrest, and with medical supervision in case of an overdose.

Source: VT Digger on 2022 Vermont Gubernatorial race , Sep 16, 2022

Add regulated marijuana sales to legalized possession

Eleven states have legalized marijuana for adults 21 and over. The Marijuana Policy Project played a central role in the coalitions that passed initiatives to legalize and regulate marijuana in CO, AK, MA, ME, MI, and NV.

Ten of those states-- AK, CA, CO, IL, ME, MA, MI, NV, OR & WA--have launched marijuana sales for adults. In the 11th state, Vermont, Gov. Phil Scott signed a bill into law yesterday to add regulated sales to an existing law that legalized personal possession and cultivation.

Source: MPP.org press release on 2022 Vermont gubernatorial race , Oct 8, 2020

Make low-level marijuana possession legal for adults

Gov. Phil Scott officially signed a bill into law that makes marijuana legal for adults in Vermont. H. 511 eliminates Vermont's civil penalty for possessing one ounce or less of marijuana and removes penalties for possession of up to two mature marijuana plants and up to four immature plants for people 21 and older.

"After more than 15 years of hard work by MPP and our allies in the state, adults in Vermont no longer need to fear being fined or criminalized for low-level marijuana possession and cultivation," said the New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project. Vermont is the ninth state to make marijuana legal for adults and the first to do so through its legislature. Eight other states have enacted laws legalizing and regulating marijuana for adult use, all through ballot initiatives."

Legislative outcome: Passed House 81-63-5 on Jan. 4; signed by Governor on Jan. 22.

Source: MPP.org on Vermont legislative voting record H.511 , Jan 22, 2018

Address opiate addiction via prevention & enforcement

Q: What would you do to address the growing problem of substance abuse?

Scott: I have a 10-point plan to address opiate addiction through prevention, treatment, and enforcement. We need to expand community commitment by replicating the success of programs such as Rutland Project VISION. I'd establish a Director of Drug Abuse Prevention and an Opiate Coordination Council comprised of municipal, health and law enforcement officials to eliminate red tape and ensure integration of state government opiate policies. I'd emphasize long-term treatment rather than short-term detox, invest in expanded treatment options and new licensed counselors. We can also give law enforcement more flexibility to refer people to treatment rather than prison. I'd also require digital prescriptions in order to reduce prescription fraud. I'd fight to update federal drug disposal rules and expand Medication-Assisted Treatment programs so doctors can treat more addicts.

Source: LWV's Vote411.org on 2016 Vermont Gubernatorial Race , Sep 19, 2016

No legalization at this time; but I'm not saying never

Q: Would you eliminate penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana? Will you support creating a reasonable system for regulating and taxing marijuana production and sales? Will you support allowing adults to grow a limited amount of marijuana for personal use?

Lieutenant Gov. Phil Scott (R-Berlin) did not respond to MPP's survey asking about marijuana legalization. "I'm not saying never," Scott said on Vermont Public Radio in June. "I'm saying it's the timing's not right. It's not now."

Source: MPP.org Voter Guide on 2016 Vermont Governor primary race , Sep 9, 2016

Supports growing industrial hemp in Vermont

Over the previous three years [in the state legislature] I voted to support the sale of un-pasteurized milk and allow industrial hemp to be grown in Vermont. I voted to find better ways to prepare students for careers in Agriculture, Forestry and Horticulture (AF&H) and determine how to better prepare the next generation of Vermonters to become involved in these sectors.
Source: NE Organic Farming Assoc. on 2016 Vermont gubernatorial race , Nov 1, 2012

Other governors on Drugs: Phil Scott on other issues:
Gubernatorial Debates 2023:
KY: Incumbent Andy Beshear(D)
vs.State A.G. Daniel Cameron(R)

vs.Ambassador Kelly Craft(R)
vs.State Auditor Mike Harmon(R)
LA: Incumbent John Bel Edwards(D,term-limited)
vs.Jeff Landry(R)
vs.Shawn Wilson(D)
vs.John Schroder(R)
vs.Sharon Hewitt(R)
MS: Incumbent Tate Reeves(R)
vs.Bill Waller(R,withdrew)
vs.Brandon Presley(D)

Gubernatorial Debates 2024:
DE: Gov. John Carney (D, term-limited);
vs. Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long (D)
vs. Matt Meyer (D)
vs. State Rep.Mike Ramone (R)
IN: Gov. Eric Holcomb (R, term-limited);
vs. Sen. Mike Braun (R)
vs. Suzanne Crouch (R)
vs. Jennifer McCormick (D)
MO: Gov. Mike Parson (R, term-limited):
vs. Jay Ashcroft (R)
vs. Bill Eigel (R)
vs. Mike Kehoe (R)
vs. Crystal Quade (D)
MT: Gov. Greg Gianforte (R)
vs. Ryan Busse (D)
vs. Tanner Smith (R, lost June 4 primary)
Gubernatorial Debates 2024 (continued):
NC: Gov. Roy Cooper (D, term-limited);
vs. Mark Robinson (R)
vs. Josh Stein (D)
vs. Dale Folwell (R, lost March 5 primary)
vs. Michael Morgan (D, lost March 5 primary)
vs. Andy Wells (R,withdrew)
ND: Gov. Doug Burgum (R, retiring)
vs. State Rep. Rick Becker (R)
vs. U.S.Rep.Kelly Armstrong (R)
vs. State Sen.Merrill Piepkorn (D)
NH: Gov. Chris Sununu (R, retiring)
vs. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R)
vs. Joyce Craig (D)
vs. Chuck Morse (R)
vs. Cinde Warmington (D)
UT: Gov. Spencer Cox (R)
vs. State Rep. Phil Lyman (R)
vs. Minority Leader Brian King (D)
VT: Gov. Phil Scott (R)
vs. Selectman Peter Duval (D)
vs. Commissioner Esther Charlestin (D)
WA: Gov. Jay Inslee (D, retiring);
vs. WA Attorney General Bob Ferguson (D)
vs. U.S.Rep.Dave Reichert (R)
vs. State Sen. Mark Mullet (D)
vs. County Chair Semi Bird (R)
vs. Hilary Franz (D, withdrew)
WV: Gov. Jim Justice (R, term-limited);
vs. WV Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R)
vs. Huntington Mayor Steve Williams (D)
vs. WV State Auditor JB McCuskey (R, withdrew)
vs. WV Secretary of State Mac Warner (R, lost May 14 primary)
vs. State Del. Moore Capito (R, lost May 14 primary)
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