Vermont made history last year when its legislature passed a marijuana legalization measure. Unfortunately, that measure was vetoed by Vermont’s Governor, who requested some tweaks to the legislation. Vermont lawmakers were unable to make the changes and send the legislation back to the Governor’s desk last year but quickly made it happen this year.
Today Vermont’s Legislature officially sent a marijuana legalization bill to the Governor’s desk, and the Governor has stated that he will sign it. If/when that happens, Vermont will become the 9th state to legalize marijuana, but Vermont’s version of legalization will be unique in two ways.
First, legalization will have been achieved via legislative action (versus initiative), and secondly, the legalization model will not include an industry component. Washington D.C. also does not have an industry component to its legalization model, but Vermont would be the first state to have such a distinction. Below is a press release from NORML that covers today’s amazing events in Vermont (you can donate to NORML at this link here):
Today, the Vermont state Senate approved a measure that would legalize the possession and limited home cultivation of marijuana.
Under this legislation, H. 511, individuals 21 years of age or older would be able to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and cultivate a limited amount for personal use.
“While prohibitionists like Attorney General Jeff Sessions desperately try to force our country to return to the dark ages, his flailing seems to be for naught, as Vermont is now positioned to be the first state to legalize marijuana possession by legislative action,” said NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri, “The American people have made their position clear, it is time to move away from the failed policies of the past and to move in the sensible direction of legalization. Vermont will likely be the first state to take such an action this year, it is unlikely to be the last with New Jersey, Delaware, New Hampshire, Connecticut and others likely to give legalization legislation serious consideration during the 2018 legislative session.”
H. 511 was approved by the state’s lower chamber last week in a 81-63 vote. Now that it has passed the state Senate, the bill now will be sent to Governor Phil Smith for his signature. Despite vetoing a similar effort last year, Governor Smith has stated he would likely sign this renewed effort.
Passage of legalization in Vermont in 2018 would be a legislative first. To date, all eight states that have enacted legalization of the adult use of marijuana, as well as the District of Columbia have done so by a direct vote of the people.
One in five Americans reside in a jurisdiction where the adult use of cannabis is legal under state statute, and the majority of citizens reside someplace where the medical use of cannabis is legally authorized. As is evidenced by Vermont lawmakers’ actions, it is clear that the Trump administration is not going to be able to cease this momentum in favor of the enactment of rational marijuana policies.
“For the second time in two years, Vermont lawmakers have rejected the failed Flat Earth policies of marijuana prohibition,” NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano said, “The majority of Vermonters, like the majority of the American public, desire to live in a community where responsible adults who choose to consume cannabis are no longer criminalized or stigmatized. Governor Scott would be wise to provide Vermonters with this path forward, rather than cling to the failed policies of the past.”
NORML’s mission is to move public opinion sufficiently to legalize the responsible use of marijuana by adults, and to serve as an advocate for consumers to assure they have access to high-quality marijuana that is safe, convenient and affordable.
More information can be found at http://norml.org/