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Will the Vermont Legislature Legalize Marijuana?

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We have been covering the proposed marijuana policy legislation in Vermont quite a bit this legislative session. You may recall that one particular bill, S.22, would remove criminal and civil penalties for minor marijuana possession, allow residents to grow a limited number of marijuana plants, and create a commission tasked with eventually establishing a system for state-regulated sales, all for residents who are 21+ years of age.  This would essentially legalize recreational/adult-use marijuana for adults in the state, once fully rolled out.  This bill has already passed through both the Vermont State House of Representatives (79-66) and the Vermont Senate (20-9) and is now awaiting the Governor’s signature to become a law, and there is some concern that this may be a big hurdle.

Phil Scott is the first-term Republican governor of Vermont and he has until Wednesday to act on S.22, which would make his state the ninth in the nation to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.  With only days left to decide the bill’s outcome, however, Mr. Scott acknowledged recently as that he isn’t sure if he’ll give it the green light.

According to the Washington Times:

“It’s been no secret, the way I’ve felt about it, the marijuana legalization in general,” Mr. Scott said Wednesday, according to The Barre Montpelier Times Argus newspaper. “I said on the campaign trail I’m not philosophically opposed to it but I do believe that highway safety needs to be kept in mind. I’m not sure the time is right now, but I want to look at the bill.”
The law would go into effect in July 2018 if Mr. Scott signs it.  While voters in 8 states and Washington D.C. have legalized recreational/adult-use marijuana in recent years, Vermont would be the first state in the country to use its state legislature, not a ballot measure, for cannabis legalization.

According to the Associated Press:

Scott says he’s not philosophically opposed to marijuana legalization, but he has concerns about keeping it away from children.

And according to The Motley Fool:

Scott isn’t morally opposed to legalizing recreational marijuana, and he’s suggested in the past that he’d be willing to look at legalizing the drug. However, Scott has public-safety concerns about legalizing recreational weed and will want to ensure any legislation has its “I’s” dotted and “T’s” crossed. If signed, 

TWB will be anxiously awaiting the outcome of Mr. Scott’s decision, and we are hopeful that Vermont will make history for the cannabis plant with this bill.  Stay tuned!

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