Vermont’s full legislature has passed a bill to legalize marijuana, making them the first in U.S. history to do so.
Senate Bill 22, which has now been approved by both the House of Representatives and Senate, would legalize the possession and use of up to an ounce of cannabis for those 21 and older. It would also allow them to legally cultivate up to two mature, and four immature cannabis plants at a private residence. Although the measure doesn’t legalize cannabis retail outlets, it does establish a study commission to consider the regulation and taxation of marijuana for adult use.
Although there are eight states in the U.S. where cannabis is legal, passage of Senate Bill 22 marks the first time ever that a state’s legislature has approved a bill to legalize marijuana; all prior legalization laws were approved through voter-initiatives. The legislation will now be sent to the desk of Governor Phil Scott for consideration; Scott has the option of signing it into law, allowing it to become law without his signature, or vetoing it.
According to a Public Policy Polling survey released in March, a majority of Vermont voters support the legislature’s move to legalize marijuana; 55% are in support of legalizing marijuana possession for those 21 and older, with 54% in support of regulating and taxing the plant similar to alcohol.
If Senate Bill 22 is signed into law by Governor Scott, or allowed to become law without his signature, Vermont would join Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada as states with legal marijuana.