MONTPELIER, Vt. — A Senate-approved bill that would make marijuana legal for adults in Vermont was passed by the Vermont House of Representatives on Thursday with minor amendments, according to a press release from Marijuana Policy Project. It will now go to the Senate for a final concurrence vote before being transmitted to Gov. Phil Scott, who vetoed a similar bill in 2017. In December, Gov. Scott indicated that he intends to sign H. 511 into law.
H. 511 would eliminate Vermont’s civil penalty for possessing 1 ounce or less of marijuana and remove penalties for possession of up to two mature marijuana plants and up to four immature plants, beginning in July. Meanwhile, a governor-appointed task force will issue a final report on how the state should tax and regulate marijuana sales and commercial cultivation by Dec.15, 2018.
“Vermont is poised to make history by becoming the first state to legalize marijuana cultivation and possession legislatively, rather than by ballot initiative. We applaud lawmakers for heeding the calls of their constituents and taking this important step toward treating marijuana more like alcohol,” said Matt Simon, New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project.
Fifty-seven percent of Vermont voters support allowing adults 21 and older to possess and grow limited amounts of marijuana, according to a statewide survey of 755 registered voters conducted in March by Public Policy Polling. Only 39% are opposed. Nationwide support is similarly strong. An October 2017 Gallup poll found 64% of Americans support making marijuana legal.
When the bill is signed, Vermont will become the ninth state to make marijuana legal for adults, and the first to do so through its legislature. Eight other states have enacted laws legalizing and regulating marijuana for adult use, all through ballot