Vermont’s legislature has approved a bill that, if signed by Republican Gov. Phil Scott, would legalize cannabis possession and small grows for adults while creating a Marijuana Regulation Commission that will draft legislation for a tax-and-regulate system.
The passage marks the first time a state legislature has approved ending cannabis prohibition.
Under the law, adults 21-and-older can possess up to 1 ounce of cannabis and grow up to two mature and four immature plants beginning on July 1, 2018. The Marijuana Regulation Commission is directed to draft legislation for a comprehensive market by Nov. 1, with the bill ready for a vote by Jan. 2018.
“Vermont lawmakers made history today,” Matt Simon, the New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a report from The Hill. “The legislature has taken a crucial step toward ending the failed policy of marijuana prohibition.”
The measure, tacked on to an unrelated bill, was a compromise between the Senate – who passed a tax-and-regulate measure last week – and the House, who passed their own bill last week to legalize possession and small grows. The legislature was set to adjourn on Saturday but reconvened in order to tie up loose legislative ends, including the cannabis compromise.
According to the Hill report, the governor has not indicated whether he will sign the measure and has previously said cannabis legalization was not “a priority.”