It looks like recreational cannabis is finally going to be legal in Vermont. I know, I know, I’ve said this before. Last spring, lawmakers voted to legalize recreational cannabis in the state, marking the first time cannabis had been legalized via legislation. Up until now, it had been up left up to the voters via ballot initiative. Then Vermont’s hopes were dashed when Republican governor Phil Scott said that he would veto legislation. Now, 8 months later, Governor Scott said that he would sign the legislation into law, according to Reuters.
After Governor Scott vetoed the legislation last May, it was back to the drawing board for state lawmakers. Finally, the Senate voted on and approved a new legalization bill, one that Scott would approve of.The measure already passed the state house last week.
The new law would allow all adults 21 and up to possess an ounce of dried cannabis, two adult plants, and four immature cannabis plants, starting as soon as the first of July. This news comes at a rather interesting time, right after Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that he had effectively rescinded the Obama era Cole memo, which protected medical cannabis from federal enforcement in legal states. The Cole memo did not make any provisions for recreational cannabis, which has never been protected under the law.
Is the state of Vermont thumbing its nose at the Trump administration? No, though it may look like it, this has been Vermont’s plan for quite a while. The state has always been quite liberal after all. As far as what the Trump administration might think about the state’s actions, there seems to be relatively little to no concern from the state itself and in particular legalization advocates.
Matt Simon, the New England Political Director for the Marijuana Policy Project had this to say, “Vermont in particular doesn’t care very much what the attorney general thinks.” He added, “With the way this bill is written, having a few plants, there’s nothing that the feds could do even if they wanted to.” Here’s hoping that he is correct.
Will Vermont’s move attract unwanted attention from the feds, or will the state be allowed to operate their cannabis market in peace? Are you a Vermont resident? We definitely want to hear from you!