In February 2016, the VT Senate passed S. 241, a bill which would have allowed adults over the age of 21 to legally buy and use Cannabis with recreational intent. The bill went on to the House of Representatives after passing in the Senate. As a result they did not agree with the Senate’s proposal on how to regulate marijuana sales. The bill did not move forward and lawmakers are not ready to set the issue aside.
A fresh vigilance is expected to return this fall with the Vermont House and Senate following the general election. If they do pass the bill agreeing to end the prohibition of marijuana, they will make history by being the first state to do so via their legislature. As of now all states where recreational use of cannabis is allowed has been passed after citizens have voted on the issue by ballot.
As reported by VTdigger.com here:
[Attorney General Bill] Sorrell said in an interview Tuesday that while he doesn’t have any “insider information,” it’s his belief that the General Assembly will pass, and the governor will sign, legislation to legalize and regulate the recreational use and sale of marijuana during the upcoming legislative session.
While no “prominent Vermonter” has told him that marijuana will be legalized, his reading of the tea leaves (“or the marijuana leaves,” he quipped) is that this is the year for legalization.
“Let me put it this way, I will be surprised if marijuana is not legalized in this next legislative session,” he said.
The evidence as he sees it? There is a clear path through the Legislature now that House Speaker Shap Smith says he favors legalization of marijuana. In previous legislative sessions, Smith has taken a “wait-and-see” approach, and has not allowed legislation to reach the floor of the House.
There are enough votes for legislation to pass in the Senate, he says, and outgoing Gov. Peter Shumlin has said he would sign a bill.
As momentum builds toward legalization, the Marijuana Policy Project has stepped up its lobbying efforts in Vermont. Its New England political director is moving to Montpelier to lobby full time.
Once legislation is crafted, there will be a contentious rule making process. Vermont, however, doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel, Sorrell said. The state can draw from the experience of other states, such Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Colorado, that have, or are in the process of, regulating recreational marijuana industries, he said.
Vermont would be the first state to legalize marijuana solely through legislative action [bill S. 241]. Massachusetts is expected to have residents vote on a ballot initiative as soon as November 2016.
That was the Attorney General and chief law enforcement officer of the state.
But how do the residents of Vermont feel about it? In a poll done by VPR, the following results don’t exactly align with the actions of their congressmen.
How strongly do you oppose the legalization of marijuana for recreational use in Vermont?
Very strongly 54%
Somewhat strongly 30%
Not too strongly 10%
Not at all strongly 4%
No opinion 1%
Total respondents 316
Keep in mind the pool of people asked is quite small at only 316 participants, however it does show an overwhelming trend in opposition.
Are you in Vermont? Tell us what you think about the issue on bill S. 241!
Cover Photo: Danny Navarro
Other than that we just get pretty high.
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