Vermont Governor Phil Scott made waves last month when he vetoed a recreational cannabis bill that would have made history as the first statewide legalization law implemented by legislators instead of a popular vote. Alas, the Republican Governor balked at the opportunity, and sent the legislation back to lawmakers. Now, following a series of meetings and compromises, it appears that Scott will have a second chance at history this week when a newly amended version of the bill lands on his desk by Wednesday.
According to the Vermont Press Bureau, Democratic Senator Dick Sears and Representative Maxine Grad are confident that the legislation altercations will be enough to pass recreational legalization into law.
“I don’t think that we’re so far apart that we can’t reach some kind of agreement,” Sears said about the compromises made with Governor Scott. “He seems to have accepted the general direction that we’re going in.”
Scott’s main concerns with the previous bill were a lack of specific details pertaining to punishments for people who give or sell cannabis to minors, those consuming cannabis while operating a motor vehicle or driving under the influence of marijuana, and the ability for police to confiscate cannabis from offenders possessing more than the legally allowed amount, or consuming it in a restricted area.
Sears and Grad have made concessions concerning the Governor’s requests, and hope to turn Vermont into the ninth state to legalize recreational cannabis use and sale. As the bill currently stands, adults in Vermont 21 years and older would be able to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and grow up to two mature and four immature plants in their home. If passed, the legislation would take effect by July 1st, 2018.
Governor Scott will once again have an opportunity to make history this week, with a chance to sign the revised legalization bill into law by the end of tomorrow’s veto session.