Vermont Governor Phil Scott made headlines last month when he vetoed a bill that would have legalized recreational cannabis possession and use by adults 21 and older. But while state marijuana advocates start to reshape the legislation in hopes of passing full-scale legalization in 2018, Governor Scott has started shedding any negative attention from the recreational veto by signing Senate Bill 16 to expand the state’s medical marijuana program.
According to the Joint Blog, the newly signed bill will add Parkinson’s disease, Crohn’s disease and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as qualifying conditions for Vermont’s medical marijuana program. PTSD and medical marijuana have become strongly correlated in the past year thanks to a growing number of military veterans pushing for non-opioid painkillers to help them deal with the lasting scars of war.
The newly signed law will also double the number of dispensaries in the state, from four to eight, increase the amount of cannabis MMJ patients can legally possess from two ounces to three, and will allow every medical patient to grow their own bud, not just those without a local dispensary.
It might take a year or two before Vermont legislators or residents pass recreational legalization, but until then, an expanded medical marijuana program will prepare the cannabis industry, politicians, and cannabis users for an eventual full-scale legalization.