Vermont has become the first state in the nation to legalize marijuana through an act of the Legislature.
Republican Gov. Phil Scott signed legislation that will legalize possession of up to an ounce of marijuana, and also allow Vermonters to grow up to two mature plants at home. The legislation goes into effect on July 1, 2018.
The bill signing — conducted behind closed doors Monday — marks the culmination of a years-long push by drug reform advocates to remove criminal and civil penalties for recreational cannabis use.
Vermont joins eight other states that have legalized recreational marijuana use, though the statute here is the first to arrive by way of the Legislature, as opposed to citizen referenda.
Vermont’s legalization law isn’t as far-reaching as the ones in place in Colorado or Washington, for example, where governments collect state revenue from retail sales of cannabis in a taxed and regulated commercial market.
Proponents of a tax and regulate system in Vermont say they view the legalization bill signed by Scott this weekend as a major step toward an above-board commercial market here in Vermont.
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