Vermont has just become the ninth state to legalize cannabis for recreational use. That’s not all. The state has also made history by becoming the first state to legalize cannabis via passing legislation. Up until this point cannabis legalization has only passed through ballot initiatives voted by voters.
The bill, S. 22 was originally a bill to increase penalties for the possession of and sale of fentanyl without a prescription. Then lawmakers in both chambers decided to amend the bill by adding language from past bills that would get rid of penalties for possession of less than one ounce of cannabis and would allow people to grow cannabis in limited numbers at home. The bill also sets up a regulatory market for selling cannabis.
Fifty seven percent of Vermont residents support cannabis legalization as opposed to thirty nine percent who are against it, according to a survey conducted by Public Policy Polling in March. Vermont Governor Phil Scott (R-VT) said that while he was not “ideologically opposed” to cannabis, he was worried about an increase in cannabis related DUIs and increased access to cannabis by children. Luckily, Governor Scott has no reason to fear; traffic fatalities are down as is teen use. Governor Scott wants to see how the “experiment” goes in other legal states before signing the Vermont bill into law. Considering that cannabis has been legal in Colorado and Washington for half a decade now, one would think that it’s been long enough for recalcitrant lawmakers to see that the “experiment” has been a success.
The bill won’t go into effect until July of next year, so don’t go walking around with your stash out in the open just yet. The state plans to look to other states for guidance on crafting their market. Recreational cannabis is now legal in about one fifth of the country. Woo-hoo!
Source: Cannabis Business Times
Image Source: Green Rush Daily
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