As expected, Vermont Governor Phil Scott on Monday officially signed a bill into law that makes marijuana legal for those 21 and older.
Governor Scott signing H. 511 into law makes Vermont the first state in U.S. history to legalize marijuana through state lawmakers (the other eight states with legal marijuana did so through the initiative process). The new law – which takes full effect on July 1 – allows those 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and cultivate up to two mature (and four immature) cannabis plants.
“After more than 15 years of hard work by MPP and our allies in the state, adults in Vermont no longer need to fear being fined or criminalized for low-level marijuana possession and cultivation,” said Matt Simon, New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project. “This is a great step forward for the state and the whole region. Responsible adults will soon have the freedom to enjoy a safer option legally, and law enforcement will be free to concentrate on serious crimes with actual victims. We are looking forward to working with lawmakers and state leaders to continue improving marijuana laws in the Green Mountain State.”
Matthew Schweich, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project, says that; “Gov. Scott and the Vermont Legislature made history today by removing penalties for adult possession and limited cultivation of marijuana, and they are almost certainly just the first to do so. Lawmakers around the country are finally catching up with their constituents and realizing that there is no reason to punish responsible adults for possessing a substance that is safer than alcohol. Vermont exhibited real leadership on this issue, and we urge other state legislatures to work toward sensible marijuana policies with the same diligence.”
Fifty-seven percent of Vermont voters support allowing adults 21 and older to possess and grow limited amounts of marijuana, according to a statewide survey in March by Public Policy Polling. An October 2017 Gallup poll found 64% of Americans support making marijuana legal.