- Associated Press - Sunday, November 23, 2014

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - With Vermont lawmakers expecting to see legislation this winter to legalize marijuana, a newly formed group is gearing up to fight the idea.

The national anti-legalization group Smart Approaches to Marijuana announced this past week it has a new Vermont affiliate to counter the pro-legalization Marijuana Policy Project.

The state chapter’s volunteer executive director will be Deborah Haskins, a drug counselor who lives in Calais.

“By aligning with SAM, we can take advantage of their incredible knowledge base, research and skills,” said Deborah Haskins, executive director of SAM-VT. “And we can work more closely with other New England SAM members, reinforcing each other’s strengths and commitment.”

She said there’s mounting evidence that marijuana is addictive and is especially harmful to adolescents.

Gov. Peter Shumlin has said he’s open to the idea of legalizing, taxing and regulating marijuana. He has said he wants to see how legalization works out in the two states that already have gone that route - Colorado and Washington - before Vermont follows the same path.

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