The Vermont House of Representatives voted yesterday to legalize Vermont marijuana hours after the decision came down from the U.S. Justice Department to allow federal prosecutors to file lawsuits against state legal marijuana operations. The bill still needs to be signed by the state senate and Governor Phil Scott. Do you think that Governor Scott will veto the bill again like he did last year?
The Vermont House passed a bill Thursday night to legalize recreational possession of marijuana just hours after Attorney General Jeff Sessionsrescinded a Department of Justice policy on legal marijuana.
Lawmakers voted 81-63 in favor of the bill, which would allow adults over the age of 21 to grow and possess small amounts of legal marijuana beginning in July. The State Senate still needs to approve the measure, but Vermont Governor Phil Scott (R) has signaled that he will sign the bill. He vetoed a similar measure last year.
House members rejected an effort led by Republicans to delay voting on the bill amid reports that Sessions would rescind a Justice Department policy on states legalizing marijuana, according to the Burlington Free Press.
The Marijuana Policy Project, the largest marijuana policy reform group in the U.S., praised the vote in a statement, calling it an “important step.”
“Vermont is poised to make history by becoming the first state to legalize marijuana cultivation and possession legislatively, rather than by ballot initiative,” Matt Simon, New England policy director for the group, said. “We applaud lawmakers for heeding the calls of their constituents and taking this important step toward treating marijuana more like alcohol.”
Vermont will become the ninth state to make recreational marijuana legal for adults upon the bill’s signing, and the first state to legalize marijuana via its state legislature.
The vote came hours after Sessions rescinded an Obama-era policy that ordered U.S. attorneys in states where marijuana has been legalized to deprioritize prosecution of marijuana-related cases.
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