Vermont made cannabis law reform history today as the first state to pass marijuana legalization measures through both the state House and Senate chambers. The Vermont Senate passed legalization 21 to 9 while the House just passed a noncommercial legalization proposal after a third reading 75 to 71. The two chambers now need to pass identical measures before the legislature adjourns in a week to send a legalization bill to the state’s governor.
HUGE: Vermont House officially passes marijuana legalization bill, 75-71. 1 ounce/2 mature plants. Senate already OKed broader bill w/ sales pic.twitter.com/i7lkLPdmtN
— Marijuana Majority (@JoinTheMajority) May 3, 2017
Most politicians are years behind their constituents on cannabis legalization, so the progress in Vermont is a huge development for the marijuana movement and should have positive implications beyond its borders. Other states’ officials will feel more emboldened to follow the will of their voters (strange concept, huh) after they see that Vermont politicians don’t suffer negative political repercussions, as well as the benefits the state will experience by saving costs and better prioritizing law enforcement resources.
Good luck to the Green Mountain State. Hopefully, legalization will become a reality this year, but even if the state doesn’t reconcile the two different legalization bills this year, the state has a great headstart on ending cannabis prohibition next year.
Below is an email the Marijuana Policy Project sent out following the historic vote by the Vermont House:
Today, Vermont made history by becoming the first state where both the House and Senate passed marijuana legalization bills!We’ve had success passing adult-use laws through ballot initiatives in the past, but never have state lawmakers done it themselves.What’s next in Vermont?Unfortunately, the clock is running out. The legislature is expected to adjourn in less than a week, leaving little time to reconcile the House and Senate’s different visions for legalization. Meanwhile, the governor has signaled he isn’t interested in signing a marijuana legalization bill this year.If legalization doesn’t make it to Gov. Scott’s desk this year, the bills will pick up where they left off in January 2018. We are thrilled with this progress and are working to get other state legislatures to follow suit!This historic moment didn’t happen over night. MPP has been lobbying Vermont lawmakers for years to pass marijuana-related legislation. In order to continue making progress at the state level, we need support from people like you.If you want to see Vermont and other states pass marijuana legalization bills, contributing to MPP will greatly speed up that process. The more we can raise, the more we can accomplish.