The Vermont Senate Committee on Finance approved a bill (6-1) on Friday that would end marijuana prohibition in the state and regulate marijuana for adult use. The bill was approved by the Senate Committee on Judiciary on January 29, and it will now be considered by the Senate Committee on Appropriations.
S. 241 would make it legal for adults 21 years of age and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and establish a tightly controlled system of licensed marijuana cultivation sites, testing facilities, and retail stores. It would also create a study commission to examine issues such as edible marijuana products and home cultivation, which would not be allowed under the bill. It would remain illegal to consume marijuana in public or drive under the influence of marijuana. If approved, rulemaking would begin this summer, but the new law would not take effect until January 2018.
A strong majority of Vermonters (56%) support regulating the cultivation and sale of marijuana for adult use, according to a statewide survey conducted by the Castleton Polling Institute in September.
“There’s strong support for ending prohibition and regulating marijuana in Vermont, and momentum is building as S. 241 advances through the Senate,” wrote Matt Simon of the Marijuana Policy Project’s Montpelier-based New England chapter. “Like most Vermonters, the members of the Senate Finance Committee recognize prohibition has failed. They believe Vermont can achieve better results by adopting a system of reasonable, strictly enforced regulations. We are confident that the bill will continue to gain support as the legislative process continues.”