January 12, 2018 Vermont
In a historic move, the legislature in Vermont has finally ratified the bill to legalize adult-use cannabis. While recreational legalization itself is a huge development, this legislative act is also significant for another reason. The legalization bill has not been endorsed through a direct ballot. Instead, public representatives of the state moved forward to make the bill a part of the state’s legislation.
Sometime ago, experts made some speculations about the next state to legalize adult-use cannabis. Among all the predictions, Vermont was a strong candidate. At that time, an active MMJ program had already been implemented in the Green Mountain State. Although, Phil Scott, Vermont governor, rejected a bill to legalize recreational cannabis last May, but still the prospects of getting adult-use cannabis legalized were very strong.
Scott didn’t veto the bill because he was a prohibitionist. He just wanted to sort out all the details and provisions regarding the legalization before proceeding with it. Experts certainly mentioned the name of Vermont in their predictions as the next possible legal state, but no one could give a definite time for legalization to happen.
But now it appears that Vermont has surprised the observers with the rapidity it gets done with the legalization. With the approval of the state’s senate, now it’s just a matter of time before the governor signs the bill.
The legalization draft of Vermont is similar to the recreational bills of other states. Adults of age 21 and above will be allowed to possess up to one ounce of marijuana flowers. Residents in Vermont will also be allowed to domestically cultivate two saplings of cannabis. As of now, there is no immediate plan for retail sales of recreational cannabis in the state.
While the initial legalization provisions in Vermont are identical to those of other legal states, the path to get legalization is absolutely different. It should be noted that majority of the states got their legalized status through public ballot.
Many people might not find this development a thing of great importance, but certainly it is. A legislative endorsement means that lawmakers have declared themselves to be pro-cannabis and pro-legalization. Getting legalization through the legislature has also shown that the Vermont lawmakers are not trying to conceal their views behind the facade of public ballot.
Politicians taking definitive stand on any issue of public concern always hold some significance. And taking a stand on a contentious issue of marijuana legalization? It surely needs some courage and determination.
The action of Vermont’s legislature is also gutsy in the backdrop of the recent annulment of Cole memos by Jeff sessions. The rescinding of these memos will make states’ cannabis businesses more vulnerable to federal crackdowns.
But there is hope; a unanimous criticism is being directed towards Jeff Sessions from the entire political class, with some lawmakers moving forward to have a legal fight to reinstate the memos. Only time can tell how many other states will follow in the footsteps of Vermont to legalize recreational cannabis?
Marijuana stays in the news, and Alice is always ready to keep us updated. A world traveler and lover of freedom, Alice knows what is going on, no matter where she roams. She specializes in marijuana legalization stories across the globe, with up to date... [read more]