Legal marijuana advocates called Vermont's bill an important milestone for their movement in a statement Wednesday celebrating the bill's passage. "Vermont will likely be the first state to take such an action this year, it is unlikely to be the last with New Jersey, Delaware, New Hampshire, Connecticut and others likely to give legalization legislation serious consideration during the 2018 legislative session".
A significant moment for the Green Mountain State as well as American history, Vermont has become the first state to legalize marijuana through the state's legislative process. Republican Gov. Phil Scott has indicated he will sign the measure into law later this month.
Once H.511 issigned by Gov. Scott, Vermont's residents will be allowed to possess up to 1 ounce of recreational marijuana and will be permitted to cultivate up to six marijuana plants.
Last spring, the Legislature passed a similar bill, but Scott vetoed it because the Republican thought it didn't do enough to protect children from marijuana and enhance highway safety.
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"This is a big step forward for Vermont", said Matt Simon, New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project. The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives passed the measure last week. Only 39% are opposed.
In Vermont, the issue of legal marijuana has been debated for several years, with most polls showing widespread support from voters.
If and when he does, Vermont will become the first state to have legalized marijuana through the legislative process. The previous eight states to legalize marijuana, along with Washington D.C., have all done so through a statewide vote. The Attorney General rescinded the Obama-era directive known as the Cole Memo, which instructed the Justice Department to place a low priority on enforcing federal marijuana laws against businesses and organizations that comply with state laws. "It's time for the federal government to respect the authority of states to determine their own marijuana practices". As is evidenced by Vermont lawmakers' actions, it is clear that the Trump administration is not going to be able to cease this momentum in favor of the enactment of rational marijuana policies.