Legislation that would legalize marijuana for those 21 and older has been approved by Vermont’s full Senate.
H. 511 has already been approved by the state’s House of Representatives, meaning it will soon be sent to Governor Phil Scott, who’s expected to quickly sign the measure into law. If he does, the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana, and the personal cultivation of up to two mature (or four immature) plants would be legal for those 21 and older. H. 511 would make Vermont the ninth state to legalize marijuana, and the first to do so through the legislature (all other states have legalized through the initiative process).
“This is a big step forward for Vermont,” says Matt Simon, New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Vermonters should be proud that their state is becoming the first to do this legislatively, rather than by ballot initiative.”
57% of Vermont voters support legalizing marijuana, with just 39% opposed, according to a statewide survey conducted in March by Public Policy Polling.
“This will be an important milestone for the legalization movement”, says Matthew Schweich, interim executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project. “When Gov. Scott signs this legislation, Vermont will become the first state in the country to end marijuana prohibition through legislative action.” Schweich says that; “Now that yet another state has rejected marijuana prohibition, there is even more pressure for Congress to take action to prevent any federal interference from Attorney General Jeff Sessions. It’s time for the federal government to respect the authority of states to determine their own marijuana policies.”
Vermont isn’t the only state currently attempting to legalize through the legislative process, as just yesterday New Hampshire’s House of Representatives approved a similar measure.