Vermont Lawmakers started 2018 off by advancing a measure to legalize marijuana.
Despite Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ move to threaten the marijuana industry and patients, Vermont is moving forward with a plan to enact significant marijuana reform.
The Vermont House has approved a measure to legalize marijuana possession. The measure will have to be approved by the Senate before reaching the desk of Governor Phil Scott. If approved, residents 21 and older could possess up to one ounce of marijuana flower and grow up to two plants at home.
Vermont would become the first state to legalize adult use marijuana through the state legislature if the proposal is passed. All other states that permit recreational use approved it through ballot initiatives.
Industry advocates are applauding the decision by lawmakers, especially as Jeff Sessions threatens a crackdown on marijuana.
“The political courage of Vermont’s lawmakers to break with nearly a century of legislative stagnation should be interpreted as a siren call in the halls of the state legislatures nationwide as well as the U.S. Capitol,” NORML Political Director Justin Strekal said according to Newsweek.
Matthew Schweich of Marijuana Policy Project was also pushing for lawmakers to legalize recreational use despite Sessions’ move.
“The Vermont Legislature’s action underscores that states will continue leading the way toward more humane, sensible marijuana policies even if this administration reverts to the cruel and counterproductive federal policies of the past,” Schweich said.
A similar bill made it through the state legislature last year. The bill was ultimately vetoed by Governor Scott who said he was waiting for a report on how legalization effects impairment. Scott commissioned a report to examine the issue in September. Recent reports indicate that Scott “is comfortable” with signing a legalization bill in early 2018.