Speaker to allow marijuana decriminalization debate

Speaker Shap Smith said he has misgivings, but he will not block the Vermont House from debating decriminalization of marijuana. The Morristown Democrat has opposed marijuana decriminalization in the past, and said he still has concerns that making the change will send the wrong message to young Vermonters. But the speaker said he won’t try to keep legislation on the issue from being debated by his colleagues. Smith said he has asked for more information on the issue from Public Safety Commissioner Keith Flynn. Governor Peter Shumlin supports decriminalization, and has argued he does not want to see young Vermonters’ future job prospects be harmed by getting arrested for having small amounts of marijuana.