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Vermont Senate Votes to Legalize Marijuana

Legalizing Marijuana

Stateline Jan10

James MacWilliams prunes a marijuana plant in Portland, Maine, where recreational use of marijuana is permitted. Vermont is close to joining Maine in legalizing the drug.

© Robert F. Bukaty, The Associated Press

A bill that would allow Vermont residents to possess and grow small amounts of marijuana for recreational use has passed the state Senate and is heading to Republican Gov. Phil Scott for his signature. Scott vetoed similar legislation last year, but he has indicated that he will sign this bill.  

If the bill becomes law, Vermont will become the first state to legalize adult use of marijuana through legislation. The eight states to previously legalize the drug did so through voter-approved ballot initiatives.

Vermont’s bill doesn’t set up a system for taxing and regulating the drug, but lawmakers may address those issues with subsequent legislation. ‘‘I hope this step leads us to tax and regulate,’’ Sen. Richard Sears, the Democratic chairman of the Judiciary Committee, told the Associated Press.

States that have legalized marijuana for medical use, recreational use, or both have had to deal with a number of regulatory issues, from crafting rules around social consumption to making sure marijuana is free of contaminants. 

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