One day soon, Vermont may be known for more than just its syrup and its ice cream. The state has just made headlines for its legislative innovation. On Wednesday, the state Senate approved a bill to legalize recreational cannabis, as reported by the Associated Press.
While eight other states have so far legalized marijuana, Vermont is the first to do so legislatively, as opposed to through a ballot vote. So, let’s hope these state lawmakers’ constituents are down with weed, because it looks like they’re about to get a lot of it. The state House has already approved the bill, and Governor Phil Scott is expected to sign it.
“It’s an important criminal justice reform to stand up and say the era of prohibition should end and Vermont needs a more sensible marijuana policy,” Laura Subin, a key legalization advocate and member of the Vermont Coalition to Regulate Marijuana, said before the vote.
The law will go into effect on July 1. Adults 21 and up will then be able to enjoy possession of up to an ounce of cannabis, up to two mature cannabis plants, and up to four immature plants per dwelling.
Only one thing is missing in this law: there are still no measures to tax or regulate cannabis. Without any further legislation, it will be a little bit of a weed free for all come July.
Lawmakers have been working on the bill since last summer, when the Governor vetoed a similar bill on the grounds that it didn’t properly protect children or highway safety.
Those kinks were apparently worked out, but still no one got around to figuring out the tax problem. The idea is to get that fixed before this summer. “I hope this step leads us to tax and regulate,” Sen. Richard Sears, the Democratic chairman of the Judiciary Committee, told the AP.
Photo via Flickr user Richard Ricciardi