Marijuana

Vermont Becomes the Ninth State to Legalize Recreational Marijuana

Today the governor signed a bill that eliminates penalties for possession and home cultivation.

|

campaign photo

Today Vermont Gov. Phil Scott signed a bill making his state the ninth to legalize marijuana for recreational use and the first to do so through the legislature rather than a ballot initiative. The new law, which takes effect on July 1, allows adults 21 or older to possess up to an ounce of marijuana in public, to grow up to six plants (two of them mature at any one time) per household, and to keep whatever they produce.

"After more than 15 years of hard work by [the Marijuana Policy Project] and our allies in the state, adults in Vermont no longer need to fear being fined or criminalized for low-level marijuana possession and cultivation," says Matt Simon, MPP's New England political director. "Responsible adults will soon have the freedom to enjoy a safer option legally, and law enforcement will be free to concentrate on serious crimes with actual victims."

Unlike the initiatives that legalized recreational marijuana in Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, the Vermont law does not permit commercial production or distribution. But it creates a Marijuana Regulatory Commission (with the same membership as the advisory commission that Scott appointed last September) that is charged with studying "regulation and taxation of a commercial adult-use marijuana market that is economically sustainable, reduces the illegal marijuana market, [and] results in net revenues to the State after appropriate costs for education, public health and public safety have been deducted." The commission is required to produce a final report by the end of the year.

Scott, a Republican who vetoed a previous legalization bill last May, is not keen on commercialization. In a message to the General Assembly, he expressed "mixed emotions" about signing the bill. "I personally believe that what adults do behind closed doors and on private property is their choice, so long as it does not negatively impact the health and safety of others, especially children," he said. But he added that he still has "reservations about a commercial system which depends on profit motive and market driven demand for its growth."

Still, Scott indicated that he might be open to going further in the future. "I look forward to the Marijuana Advisory Commission addressing the need to develop comprehensive education, prevention and highway safety strategies," he said. "There must be comprehensive and convincing plans completed in these areas before I will begin to consider the wisdom of implementing a commercial 'tax and regulate' system for an adult marijuana market. It is important for the General Assembly to know that—until we have a workable plan to address each of these concerns—I will veto any additional effort along these lines which manages to reach my desk."

NEXT: Aziz Ansari, Bad Sex, and the Dangers of 'Relying on Nonverbal Cues or Mind Reading'

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. “I personally believe that what adults do behind closed doors and on private property is their choice, so long as it does not negatively impact the health and safety of others, especially children,” he said. But

    ’nuff said

    1. ………I just started 7 weeks ago and I’ve gotten 2 check for a total of $2,000…this is the best decision I made in a long time! “Thank you for giving me this extraordinary opportunity to make extra money from home.
      go to this site for more details….. http://www.startonlinejob.com

    2. And yet the majority of people who say this about pot still want other drugs to remain illegal.

  2. “I personally believe that what adults do behind closed doors and on private property is their choice, so long as it does not negatively impact the health and safety of others, especially children,” he said. But he added that he still has “reservations about a commercial system which depends on profit motive and market driven demand for its growth.”

    That’s… interesting and potentially incredibly libertarian. Without exploring further Scott’s comments beyond the context of this blogpost, I am also not keen on “commercialization”.

    Legalization? 100%.

    “Commercialization” often leads to the heavy hand of regulation, licensing, cronyism and… inevitably corruption.

    I do suspect Scott is just skeptical of legalization, and is afraid that if there’s a ‘recognized’ market for it it will drive up demand. Which is, of course, silly.

  3. Come on, Murlin. You can do it too.

    1. Just buy your weed in Ballmer, like everyone else.

      1. I buy make donations for it in DC. Lately I just get it from people on Craigslist.

        1. You wanna end up like that guy from Silk Road… and Silk Road 2, the Revenge of Silk Road?

  4. Has there been a stated reason why it doesn’t take effect until July 1 when they’re not legalizing sales? Is this kind of delay just standard for new laws taking effect in Vermont? Generally we’ve seen a pretty big delay on legal sales starting, but with possession being legalized pretty much immediately; you wouldn’t think there’s a whole lot to implement given that they’re not legalizing sales.

    1. If I had to make a WAG, it could be the delay is to handle the administrative work of removing enforcement from the justice pipeline.

  5. Today the governor signed a bill that eliminates penalties for possession and home cultivation.

    Oh, the best kind!

    the Vermont law does not permit commercial production or distribution

    Does it explicitly prohibit it? Anyway, I actually prefer this to full “legalization” that involves setting up a cronyist regulatory framework with high taxes. The benefits outweigh the drawbacks, IMO.

  6. “…law enforcement will be free to concentrate on serious crimes with actual victims.”

    Like possession of heroin. And the commercial sale and distribution of cannabis.

    1. There you go. To hell with busting cops who murder pets and peeps for no reason, or berserkers who drive trucks into crowds of people to please Allah.

    2. That’s exactly right. It’s no coincidence that the so-called “opioid epidemic” came along just in time to save the asses of all the petty bureaucrats and control freaks who might have to get real jobs if drugs were legal.

  7. Another domino falls.

    1. I think this will domino like casinos have. States will see their citizens spending their money elsewhere and will want to feed at that trough.

    2. Don’t fool yourself. The “dominoes” have been falling since 1996, and yet the drug war continues unabated. All you’re doing with state-level legalization of one drug is turning the full force of the war against other drug users. And, call me crazy, but i think my life and my freedoms are just as precious as the lives and freedoms of people who want to use marijuana.

  8. Because we all know that nothing good ever came of the profit motive.

  9. “system which depends on profit motive and market driven demand for its growth.”

    You mean like the current unregulated black market responsible for most of the violence here as well as Mexico and Central and South America? States need to get their heads out of their asses.

    1. But we need to be tough on crime. If we legalize stuff, it wouldn’t be a crime and how can we be tough if there is no crime?
      So there.

  10. Wah! It’s anarchy is whut it is! Next thing they’ll be letting their wymmin get all uppity and having Open Borders with godless, baby-killing Canada! Then again, Canooks’ll probably pay cash for some bud, just like Vermonters once paid cash for some bootleg Canadian beer.

  11. This aggression against Beauregard cannot stand

  12. Scott, a Republican, has reservations about a commercial system which depends on profit motive and market driven demand for its growth.

    A Republican who hates markets and profits.

  13. I can see what your saying… Raymond `s article is surprising, last week I bought a top of the range Acura from making $4608 this-past/month and-a little over, $10,000 this past month . with-out any question its the easiest work I’ve ever had . I began this five months/ago and almost straight away startad bringin in minimum $82 per-hr

    ……………………. http://www.homework5.com

  14. Well Reason hasn’t been getting its way on the Mexicans and Ass Sex lately, but at least weed is doing well! LOL That must help the writing staff get through the day without contemplating suicide.

    In Washington it’s worked out pretty well. I don’t smoke, but it is pretty crazy to people that do that you can just buy it in a store. My dad still kind of trips out about it when he picks some up.

  15. Sorry man, I don’t need government permission to smoke, drink, eat, and grow what I want.

    1. Sorry, man, yes, you do. You shouldn’t, but you do.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.