Vermont is one signature away from legalizing recreational weed. In an unprecedented move in America’s legalization process, Governor Phil Scott has the opportunity to pass the first recreational legalization bill without a vote from the general public.
According to Vermont Public Radio, state lawmakers passed the bill, H. 170, onto Scott’s desk on Thursday morning, giving the Republican Governor a five day window to make one of three options. By the middle of next week Scott will have to either veto the legalization bill, sign it into law, or allow it to pass without his signature.
The bill on Scott’s desk would legalize possession of up to one ounce of cannabis for adults 21 and older, allow residents to grow up to two mature plants, and put Vermont on the fast track for a taxed and regulated retail system in the near future.
Scott spoke to reporters after it became clear that legalization would come down to his final say, and while he has expressed concern about highway safety in the past, the Governor made sure not to tip his hand on the upcoming decision.
“I’ve said it along the campaign trail — I’m not philosophically opposed to it,” Scott told reporters at Thursday’s press conference. “I’m not sure that the time is right now, but I want to look at the bill.”
Vermont’s state legislators have already made history by bringing the prospect of recreational legalization this far, and if Governor Scott pulls the trigger and signs off on H. 170, Vermont will join Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Alaska as the ninth state to end cannabis prohibition.