Vermont: The First State to Legalize Marijuana Through Legislation

Vermont made national headlines and was the subject of late-night talk show jokes on Jan. 10 when the state Senate approved a bill to legalize adult use of marijuana. While the measure would not allow legal sales, the Green Mountain State was poised to make history as the first in the nation to legalize marijuana by legislation instead of popular vote.

Updates: Vermont became the ninth state in the country to allow recreational marijuana when Republican Gov. Phil Scott privately signed the bill, albeit “with mixed emotions,” on Jan. 22. The law went into effect July 1.

The legislation lets adults over 21 possess up to one ounce of marijuana or five grams of hash, and cultivate up to two mature and four immature plants at home. It would remain illegal to smoke pot in a public place or while driving.

However, the bill doesn’t permit commercial sales. Still, entrepreneurs there think a regulated market is inevitable. In fact, Gov. Scott’s Marijuana Advisory Commission has been studying cannabis sales and issued a report on Jan. 16 that only recommended to keep looking into the matter.

While the governor has said he’s not “philosophically opposed” to legalization (thanks to a libertarian streak), he’s expressed skepticism

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