Feb 242016
 February 24, 2016

vermont marijuana decriminalizationThe Vermont Senate gave its initial approval to a bill Wednesday (16-13) that would end marijuana prohibition in the state and regulate the cultivation and sale of marijuana for adult use. It must approve the measure a second time in order to send it over to the House of Representatives. A second vote is expected sometime this week.

“Vermonters have been yearning for leadership on this issue, and the Senate is really stepping up and demonstrating it,” said Matt Simon, the Montpelier-based New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project. “The senators did not arrive at this vote lightly. They engaged in an exceptionally deliberative process, and like most of their constituents, they have arrived at the conclusion that it’s time to end prohibition and regulate marijuana.”

  1. 241 would make it legal for adults 21 years of age and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and establish a tightly controlled system of licensed marijuana cultivation sites, testing facilities, and retail stores. It would also create a study commission to examine issues such as edible marijuana products and home cultivation, which would not be allowed under the bill. It would remain illegal to consume marijuana in public or drive under the influence of marijuana. If approved, rulemaking would begin this summer, but the new law would not take effect until January 2018.

“The folks who want to maintain prohibition are going to pull out all the stops to try to scare legislators into maintaining the status quo,” Simon said. “We hope the senators will not fall for the scare tactics and remain steadfast in their support for a more sensible marijuana policy. They’re not alone in this — there is strong majority support for this type of legislation in Vermont and nationwide.”

A group of more than a dozen local clergy and faith leaders from across Vermont sent a letter to members of the Senate yesterday encouraging them to support S. 241. Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell and two former attorneys general, Jerome Diamond and Kimberly Cheney, sent a similar letter to legislators last week.

On Monday, Vermont Public Radio released the results of a poll conducted by the Castleton Polling Institute that found 55% of Vermonters support passing a law to legalize and regulate marijuana for adult use. Only 32% said they are opposed.

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The Vermont Coalition to Regulate Marijuana is a broad coalition of citizens, organizations, and businesses working to end marijuana prohibition in Vermont and replace it with a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed. For more information, visit http://www.RegulateVermont.org.

About Johnny Green

Johnny Green is a marijuana activist from Oregon. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Public Policy. Follow Johnny Green on Facebook and Twitter. Also, feel free to email any concerns.
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  • Michael Miller

    You go Vermont! It’s a thrill to see logical thinking taking place to end unjust nonsensical laws that do society more harm than good.

    • Lawrence Goodwin

      I will go—to Vermont! I can literally see the Green Mountains every clear day. But there is no guarantee the VT House will concur. It could easily torpedo this legislation, even if the second Senate vote succeeds.

      • EddyMelv

        Lawrence —– I hope you haven’t been “influenced” by some Sarah Palin interview answer …. Hah !
        Our government and the brainwashed and / or ignorant state that cannabis makes the user stupid. Well, we’ve known all along that statements like these were only a part of the “sham-and-scam” (kind of like “shock-and-awe”) campaign that our government has employed for eighty years now.
        With that said, what’s Sarah’s excuse ???
        I digress. I’ll keep the politics out of it.
        Oh wait —– that’s EXACTLY what this issue IS —— ALL POLITICS, no common sense, nor the constitutional consideration for the American citizen and voter.
        The American citizen, at all times humanly possible, should have THE say in how he or she lives their private life. The MAJORITY MUST ALWAYS be heard and its word ACTED upon by whom we have chosen to represent us —- the key and operative word is, “represent” , is it not ?

  • EddyMelv

    Way to go, you VERMONTERS ! LEAD THE WAY IN THE NORTHEAST !
    Who says that we always have to wait for the West to progressively make the first moves and “set the trend” ? EVERYTHING seems to have to originate on the West Coast, where thinking has traditionally been more objective and open-minded, and then travel eastward. It’s been like that since 1849 for cyrin’ out loud !
    NOT ANYMORE ! HERE COMES LITTLE ‘OL VERMONT —- not; big, powerful, progressive New York State —- nope —- little ‘ol Vermont —- that speck of green on the map !
    The difference between Vermont and New York, you ask, or maybe just wonder ?
    POLITICS ! Ta daaaaaaa !
    VERMONTERS GET TO SPEAK —- THEN VOTE !
    New Yorkers get trampled down.
    Anyone care to refute or even discuss ??? Didn’t think so…
    Once again —- GO VERMONTERS ! Common sense has never felt so good — has it ???

  • http://www.organibliss.com Doc Deadhead

    Great first legislative step but let’s not call a pig beautiful.

    This is more like decriminalization for under an ounce instead of “the end of prohibition”

    Home grow: prohibited

    Edibles: prohibited

    Concentrates: prohibited

    Sharing with a friend: prohibited

    Having a gram over an ounce: prohibited

    Let alone the hundreds of other laws they will make sending folks to jail for cannabis.

    This is no where near the end of prohibition!