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Front View of Vermont State House, Montpelier

Cannabis Legalization Bill Signed in Vermont

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott signed legislation into law Monday that will allow adults to possess small amounts of marijuana in the Green Mountain State. 

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Vermont’s marijuana law will go into effect July 1. Starting that day, people over 21 years old will be able to have up to an ounce of marijuana in their possession. People will also be legally allowed to have up to two mature marijuana plants, and four immature plants in their home.

Scott said he signed the bill with “mixed emotion,” but did so because he believes that what people do in their homes shouldn’t be the concern of government as long as it doesn’t affect the health and safety of others, particularly children.

With the bill becoming law, Vermont becomes the first state to legalize cannabis use solely through its state legislature, without the voters forcing it to do so through a constitutional change or other referendum process. It becomes the ninth state to approve non-medical use of marijuana, along with the District of Columbia.

As of now, Vermont has no legal market for the sale of marijuana, so there will not be cannabis shops in the state. There also is, so far, no mechanism for taxing any sale of the plant.

Two other New England states, Maine and Massachusetts, have also legalized non-medical marijuana use, and are in the process of setting up regulated markets and taxing systems.  In neighboring New Hampshire, lawmakers earlier this month passed a bill allowing people there to possess small amounts of marijuana, though Gov. Chris Sununu is reportedly opposed to full legalization of non-medical marijuana use and won’t sign the bill. Medical marijuana is legal in New Hampshire, and Sununu did sign legislation last year decriminalizing non-medical possession, making possession punishable by a civil fine, but no criminal penalties.

READ The AP story on the bill becoming law

 

 

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