Recreational Marijuana Might Soon Be Legal In Vermont

Vermont is all set to become the first state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana through its legislature. If S. 241 is enacted, Vermont will be the fifth (after Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska) state to legalize cannabis for consumption and retail sales to everyone older than 21.

The Vermont Senate has already given final legal approval, voting 17-12 to allow possession and sales this Thursday, and the bill is now pending for a house vote.  Although, if passed, the bill will only be put into effect beginning January, 2018.

Presently, the Green Mountain State permits the use of marijuana for medical purposes only. However, per provisions of the bill, residents would be permitted to purchase up to half an ounce at a time and non-residents of the state a mere quarter-ounce. The bill prohibits cannabis use in the form of edibles as well as personally growing the plant.

WPTZ expects the 25 percent sales tax on recreational sales will benefit the state to the tune of $30 to $40 million in revenue annually.

According to Gov. Peter Shumlin (D), the bill reflects the end of  “the failed policy of prohibition in Vermont.” and he has promised to sign it if the Vermont House passes it.

Unlike in the other four states where recreational cannabis laws were passed by ballot initiatives, the political option of initiatives isn’t available in Vermont. Thus, passing S. 241 via state legislature is only one way to legalize marijuana.

Hopes are high, however since Vermont is generally considered to be a progressive state, which was the first to legalize same-sex marriage via legislature back in 2009.


Image: VPR