March 17, 2016

Vermont’s House Opens the Discussion on Legalization

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(Montpelier)—“Most of us do not believe prohibition is working,” said Representative from Burlington, Chris Pearson, in an opening statement today regarding the marijuana legalization bill that has just been opened by the Vermont House of Representatives.

The Vermont Senate recently passed a draft of the bill regarding the legalization of marijuana, before crossing over this past week. This draft is now beginning its journey through the House. Today, the House Judiciary Committee, as well as the House Committee on Government Operations read through the bill for the first time with Legislative Counsel, Michele Childs.

Childs summarized the passed House bill, while the cautious Judiciary committee members fired questions about the new legislation. The bill passed by the Senate includes provisions regarding the tax revenue from the retail sale of marijuana, programs regarding prevention of drug abuse and improving public safety, and other logistics regarding adult use, possession, and civil and criminal penalties set forth by the bill. The committee’s questions challenged the nitty gritty about drug tests, the underground market, the regulations surrounding size of growing operations and licenses for retail, cultivation and testing.

If the House’s version of the bill after mark-up and discussion passes, it will be voted on in the entire legislature. If the bill passes by both houses, marijuana will be legally sold and consumed by Vermonters beginning January 2, 2017, said Childs. There is still a long road ahead, though, in the discussion around legalizing marijuana.IMG_2833

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