Vermont poised to enact legal pot through Legislature

The Vermont Senate on Wednesday gave final approval to a bill that would allow the recreational use of marijuana, putting the state on course to become the first in the country to legalize pot by an act of the Legislature rather than through a referendum by voters.

By voice vote, the Senate agreed to the proposal that would make it legal for adults to possess and grow small amounts of marijuana but does not set up a system to tax and regulate the production and sale of the drug.

“Today the Vermont Senate moved Vermont one step closer to a rational approach to marijuana,” Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe, a Democrat and Progressive, said in a statement.

“Tens of thousands of Vermonters will no longer feel like they’re committing a crime for their private, responsible use of marijuana.”

Once the bill takes effect, Vermont will become the ninth state in the country, along with the District of Columbia, to approve the recreational use of marijuana and the only area where the law wasn’t created by the vote of residents.

Justin Strekal, political director for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana laws, said Vermont and the District of Columbia are the only jurisdictions without a tax and regulation structure as part of their marijuana legalization laws.

The legalization laws in Maine and Massachusetts call for tax and regulation structures, but they have not yet been set up, although personal marijuana use and possession are legal in those states.

The Vermont bill would allow adults 21 and older to possess of up to 1 ounce of marijuana and have two mature marijuana plants or four immature plants.

Last spring, the Legislature passed a similar bill, but Scott vetoed it because the Republican thought it didn’t do enough to protect children from marijuana and enhance highway safety.

Democratic state Sen. Richard Sears, who has been working for marijuana legalization for years, said the bill passed Wednesday was an important first step.

“Vermont has already decriminalized so it’s a false narrative that the lobbyists and the marijuana promoters are giving Vermont and the Legislature.”

Source: FOX News

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