Vermont just legalized marijuana, but not like Colorado

Weed, dude.
Image: The Washington Post/Getty Images

 The Green Mountain State now has a totally different meaning for Vermont.

For the first time, a state legislature in the U.S. legalized adult cannabis use for adults 21 and older. The other states that allow recreational cannabis use — Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, California, Nevada, Massachusetts, and Maine, as well as Washington D.C. — got there with ballot measures. 

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott signed the bill on Monday, which will go into effect on July 31, and will allow adults to possess one ounce or less of cannabis flower. Additionally, adults may posses up to two mature marijuana plants and up to four immature plants. 

The bill does not permit the sale of recreational cannabis, meaning you can not go to your neighborhood pot shop and pick up an ounce of OG Kush. This marks an important opportunity for states that may be considering legal cannabis use in their state, but aren’t ready to take the plunge into recreational sales like Colorado, or most recently California. The Vermont legislature is expected to develop a system for sales and taxation in the future. 

Other state legislatures that could follow in Vermont’s footsteps include Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Rhode Island.

‘I personally believe that what adults do behind closed doors and on private property is their choice.’

“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,” Scott said in a statement. 

“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,” the statement reads. 

Scott also directly said he would veto any plan that would implement the sale of commercial cannabis until there is a plan 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,” Scott said. “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.”

Scott previously vetoed a version of the same bill, saying, “We must get this right.” 

In an October Gallup pole, 64 percent of Americans supported legalized marijuana use in the United States, which is an all-time high. 

While states continue to legalize cannabis use, marijuana remains federally illegal as a Schedule 1 drug on the DEA’s classification list, alongside heroin. Additionally, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions vetoed policies put in place by the Obama administration that protects states that legalize cannabis earlier this month, striking fear into the cannabis industry that the Feds may crack down on recreational sales.  

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