Marijuana Just Became Legal in Vermont

By Nick Hamilton | USA

It seems as if with Attorney General Sessions’ agenda, states would be reluctant to legalize marijuana.

Vermont clearly doesn’t think so, as Republican Governor Phil Scott signed H.511 into law Monday, that will legalize marijuana effective July 1st, 2018. Vermont is the first do this via an act of legislation, and ninth to do it overall. (The previous eight had done it via direct voting.)

However, this legalization is very different from other states. Commercial sales of marijuana are still banned, meaning you won’t be seeing weed hit the shelves. Scott says he wants to ensure that people are educated about safety in regards to marijuana.

Here’s what you can do in Vermont now. If you’re 21 or older, you can legally possess up to an ounce of marijuana, and grow 2 mature plants and 4 immature plants at your residence. Governor Scott has said he has set up an Advisory Commission for September, which hopes to outline these education procedures for marijuana so that it can be sold commercially.

In addition to the legalization of marijuana, the bill, in fact, increases penalties for selling or giving marijuana to someone under 21. You also can’t use it with a child in the room or grow/sell it at a facility serving children.

Governor Scott had the following statement, which was published on his official page.

“Today, with mixed emotions, I have signed H. 511.”

“As I said when I vetoed S. 22 in May, I personally believe that what adults do behind closed doors and on private property is their choice, so long as it does not negatively impact the health and safety of others, especially children. In this context, it is very important to understand what H. 511 does and does not do.

“While this legislation decriminalizes, for adults 21 and older, personal possession of no more than 1 ounce and cultivation of two mature plants on their private property, marijuana remains a controlled substance in Vermont and its sale is prohibited. Also, consumption of marijuana in public places is prohibited. Consumption of marijuana by operators and passengers in a motor vehicle is prohibited. Schools, employers, municipalities, and landlords are also empowered to adopt policies and ordinances further restricting the cultivation and use.”

“My S.22 veto message also plainly expressed my reservations about a commercial system which depends on the profit motive and market-driven demand for its growth. I look forward to the Marijuana Advisory Commission addressing the need to develop comprehensive education, prevention, and highway safety strategies. To be very direct: There must be comprehensive and convincing plans completed in these areas before I will begin to consider the wisdom of implementing a commercial “tax and regulate” system for an adult marijuana market. It is important for the General Assembly to know that – until we have a workable plan to address each of these concerns – I will veto any additional effort along these lines, which manages to reach my desk.”

“More importantly, as I noted in my State of the State address, I ask the General Assembly to now turn its efforts to addressing more significant issues faced by Vermonters in their daily lives.”

You can read the bill here.