Medicine

Senate passes marijuana legalization bill

Senate passes marijuana legalization bill

The Vermont Senate passed a bill to legalize recreational marijuana use, making the state the first in the nation to do so through the legislative process rather than a ballot initiative.

The measure now awaits action from Republican Gov. Phil Scott, who vetoed similar legislation previous year. It does not, however, immediately clear the way for retail sales of the drug.

"As Governor said in June when he came to an agreement with the Legislature on revisions to the bill, he would sign the compromise bill if it made it to his desk, and he has not seen anything to change that position at this point", the governor's spokesperson said previously. He also was concerned that legalization would conflict with federal law. "With the way this bill is written, having a few plants, there's nothing that the feds could do even if they wanted to".

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If H. 511 becomes law, Vermont will be the first state to legislatively act to eliminate both criminal and civil penalties for personal marijuana possession and growing.

While the threat of federal intervention was not the driving force in the two states' moves to legalize personal possession and cultivation, but not a legal, taxed, and regulated marijuana market, the lack of legal commerce may provide some cover from federal prosecutors, who would be left looking for people with an ounce of weed or a couple of plants.

Matt Simon, New England political director for the pro-legalization Marijuana Policy Project, disagreed.


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