• Notes from the Trail: High time to donate to Shumlin
    By
     | September 19,2012
     

    Remember the flap in early August over Gov. Peter Shumlin’s plea for campaign donations from a national organization that wants to legalize marijuana?

    Well, Republican challenger Randy Brock ought to have even more fun with the latest cannabis-related contributor on Shumlin’s campaign-finance disclosures.

    “Weedmaps Media Inc.” sent the Democratic incumbent a $2,000 check last month. And as the company’s tagline indicates, the online outfit is dedicated to helping medical marijuana enthusiasts “Find Your Bud.”

    According to estimates from the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, which itself has given $2,000 to the Shumlin re-election campaign, Weedmaps is the country’s premier medical marijuana dispensary directory, connecting more than 1 million medical marijuana patients to thousands of cannabis dispensaries nationwide.

    Medical marijuana is a serious issue for the chronically ill Vermonters whose pain it helps alleviate. Weedmaps, however, seems to be courting a more recreational user base.

    The main page, for example, features a live chat called “What R U Smoking On?” wherein users submit Tweet-length reviews of their current bud of choice.

    “Blazing that blue skunk fire dank,” reports “Carnalito22.”

    For “Caligoodbud,” the “Starfire bubba kush” has been going very nicely.

    Users can also find reviews of dispensaries and their products, to find out in advance whether items like Dr. J’s Buzz Buttons are worth the scratch.

    To see how it all works, head over to weedmaps.com, type in your zip code, and the site will reveal medical marijuana dispensaries in your region.

    No prescription? No problem.

    The good folks at Weedmaps have compiled a roster of physicians eager to provide patients with the doctor’s approval they need to buy their buds legally in states like California, Colorado, Washington and Michigan.

    Type in the ZIP code for Montpelier, and the site will direct you to a pair of dispensaries in Montreal — Le Holistique Collectif and the Montreal Compassion Centre.

    Vermont doesn’t have any medical marijuana dispensaries — yet. On the heels of controversial legislation passed with Shumlin’s support in 2010, public safety officials last week gave the go-ahead for two dispensaries to be located in Waterbury and Burlington. The dispensaries could open their doors as early as next spring.

    We put in a call to the Weedmaps headquarters in Newport Beach, Calif., to find out what it is about Shumlin that so impressed them. No response so far.

    Shumlin campaign manager Alex MacLean said the donation arrived unsolicited in the mailbag.

    “Clearly this is a business that agrees with the governor’s belief that marijuana should be decriminalized in order for our limited resources to be targeted more effectively,” MacLean said.

    She said the campaign had vetted Weedmaps, and found it to be a suitable outfit from which to accept a campaign donation.

    Strict regulations on the number, size and operating protocols of dispensaries in Vermont were designed to avoid the proliferation of dispensaries in places like California and Colorado, where more permissive guidelines have basically provided an end-run around criminal marijuana statutes.

    If future legislation opens the dispensary doors a little wider here, good to know Vermonters will have a Weedmap to help us find our bud.

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