Health Care

Vermont is on the verge of passing (limited) marijuana legalization

Vermont is on the verge of passing (limited) marijuana legalization”

The bill eliminates all possession penalties up to an ounce for adults 21-and-older, allowing them to grow two mature and four immature plants per household.

Vermont's legislature moved to legalize possession and home cultivation of marijuana Thursday evening within hours of Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinding Obama-era pot policies.

The Vermont House and Senate are fixated with the passage of marijuana legalization along with Gov. Scott's complacency toward it.

Lawmakers in Vermont approved a similar measure in 2017, but it was vetoed by Governor Phil Scott, who was waiting for the results of a report on the effect of legalization on impairment.

The legislation would make the Green Mountain State the latest to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. The Senate previously had passed the measure, but must review the rewritten language, likely next week.

The bill would not establish a system for retail marijuana sales, but Mr. Scott created a commission previous year tasked with studying the possibility of taxing and regulating the plant in order to eventually establish a commercial cannabis marketplace.

The Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Rhode Island legislatures are expected to seriously consider making marijuana legal for adults this year and regulating marijuana similarly to alcohol.

NORML Political Director Justin Strekal praised the Vermont legislature for moving forward, noting in a statement that the first Legislature to approve marijuana would serve as a "huge turning point" in the national movement to legalize adult-use marijuana.

In the eight states that have already legalized marijuana, the issue was approved by voters in a statewide referendum and the role of lawmakers was to work out the details of the plan. Vermont followed suit in 2004, and medical marijuana laws are now on the books in 29 states and Washington, D.C. "But, by golly, you got some grandmother smoking a marijuana cigarette in a state where it's legal, we've got to go after that", he quipped shortly after the department's Sessions-led policy change. Vermont and 22 other states do not have a ballot initiative process.

"The Vermont Legislature's action underscores that states will continue leading the way toward more humane, sensible marijuana policies even if this administration reverts to the cruel and counterproductive federal policies of the past", Schweich said.



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