The Green Mountain State just got a little bit greener as Vermont recreational marijuana is now a reality. On Jan. 22, 2018, Vermont Gov. Phil Scott signed H. 511, legalizing recreational marijuana in the state. This makes Vermont the ninth state to legalize recreational marijuana and the first state to do so via the state legislature instead of a ballot initiative.
While Scott signed the legislation, which allows personal possession of up to one ounce and home cultivation of up to two mature and four immature plants, he wasn’t exactly thrilled to be doing so.
“Today, with mixed emotions, I have signed H. 511,” Scott said in a press release. “While this legislation decriminalizes, for adults 21 and older, personal possession of no more than 1 ounce, and cultivation of two mature plants on their private property, marijuana remains a controlled substance in Vermont and its sale is prohibited. Also, consumption of marijuana in public places is prohibited. Consumption of marijuana by operators and passengers in a motor vehicle is prohibited.”
In addition to highlighting all of the activities the bill prohibits, Scott reiterated his reservations about taxing and regulating a retail marijuana market in Vermont.
“There must be comprehensive and convincing plans completed in [education, prevention and highway safety strategies] before I will begin to consider the wisdom of implementing a commercial ‘tax and regulate’ system for an adult marijuana market,” Scott said. “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.”
Scott’s stance might not bode will for the Vermont recreational marijuana market, but Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman previously expressed his optimism that H. 511 will pave the way for a full-fledged market.
“Vermont is one step closer to a full tax and regulate system which will bring us the needed resources to support education, youth prevention, addiction treatment, and public safety,” Zuckerman said in a press release on Jan. 10.