Police: Drug Suspect Thought Marijuana Would Be Legal Soon - NECN
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Police: Drug Suspect Thought Marijuana Would Be Legal Soon

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    Investigators say a Vermont man charged with growing marijuana at home told them he wanted to get a jump on the drug's potential legalization. 

    (Published Tuesday, April 25, 2017)

    Police in St. Albans, Vermont, say a drug suspect told them he wanted to grow pot on his property in order to be ready for the possible legalization of recreational marijuana in the state.

    St. Albans police said they were called to assist game wardens with an investigation into a possible hunting violation Sunday, after wardens confronted a man who then fled into a house.

    "Wardens obtained written consent to search the residence and the outbuildings," Lt. Ben Couture of the St. Albans Police Department said. "When they obtained that consent, they ended up seizing 13 marijuana plants and 27 smaller marijuana plants."

    The also seized seeds, police said, from 42-year-old Michael "Seth" Marshall of St. Albans.

    According to police, the suspect told them he thought marijuana was going to become legalized at the state level soon, so he wanted to get a jump on growing it.

    "I've heard, through my 33 years of practicing law, pretty much every comical response somebody would come up with to a police officer who's about to bust them for something," said Sen. Joe Benning, R-Caledonia County, who has voiced support for marijuana legalization. "I got a kick out of that, but the nutshell is — this person knows full well we have no system in place."

    However, there was a step toward cannabis reform in Vermont through a vote at the State House in Montpelier Tuesday.

    The Vermont Senate approved a proposal to regulate and tax recreational marijuana sales to people 21 and older.

    The bill calls for a program establishing state-licensed retailers resembling Colorado's, as well as a state system starting soon in Massachusetts.

    A similar Senate bill fizzled out in the Vermont House of Representatives last year, with opponents raising highway safety concerns.

    This new legislative push still needs approval from that second chamber, which is unlikely to take it up before next year.

    It's worth pointing out that no Vermont lawmaker has suggested seeing home grow operations nearly as large as the one St. Albans police report busting Sunday.

    As for Marshall, he was cited to appear in court next month to answer to a charge of cultivating marijuana.

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