Vermont Becomes 11th State To Legalize Recreational Cannabis

Vermont Becomes 11th State To Legalize Recreational Cannabis

On Wednesday, Vermont became the 11th state to legalize recreational cannabis. Republican Governor Phil Scott has announced legislation to regulate and tax cannabis sales without his signature.

The news was considered a major victory by the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). This is big news for Vermont, which is only the second state in America to legalize the adult use of cannabis via the legislature and not at the ballot box. Illinois did the same thing in 2019.

Recreational sales in Vermont are expected to start in October 2022.

In 2018, Vermont legalized the posesson and use of recreational cannabis, but lawmakers did not authorize any guidelines for the legal production and sale of cannabis. In September, Vermont lawmakers gave final approval to fully legalize it.

MPP’s Executive Director Steven Hawins said in a news release, “The significance of Vermont’s decision to legalize and regulate cannabis sales, especially in a state with a Republican governor and through the legislative process, cannot be overstated.”

“This is a historic move that adds to the momentum of our movement and underlines it’s breadth and depth, and importantly, it comes as other state legislatures are poised to seriously consider legalization in the very near future.”

Governor Scott did not sign the bill, but he did allow the measure to become a law without a veto. He noted that Vermont lawmakers still have work to do on the bill.

Scott said he declined to sign the bill because it didn’t address multiple concerns he has, including:

  • An “inequitable playing field,” which he said “will disproportionately benefit Vermont’s existing (MMJ) dispensaries.” (Protesters gathered last weekend outside the capitol to draw attention to the lack of a social equity program.)
  •  The allowance of marijuana vaping products when he’s not satisfied that vaping does not pose a threat to public health.
  • Adding stricter marketing prohibitions to ensure cannabis isn’t made attractive to minors.
  • An “aggressive” timeline for the appointment of cannabis control board members by Jan. 8, 2021.
  • Increasing law enforcement funding and training to handle a possible uptick in impaired drivers.


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