MONTPELIER, Vt. (Jan. 11, 2018) – Yesterday, the Vermont Senate gave final approval to a bill that would allow the recreational use of marijuana. Less than a week after Attorney General Jeff Sessions threatened to ramp up federal marijuana prohibition enforcement, passage puts the state on course to become the first in the country to legalize pot via legislative act rather than through a citizen referendum.
House Bill 511 (H.511), which the state House of Representatives passed last week, would allow adults 21 or older to possess up to an ounce of marijuana (currently a civil offense punishable by a maximum fine of $500) and grow up to six plants, two of them mature, per household. Growers also may keep at home whatever quantity of marijuana those plants produce. Growing one or two plants is currently a misdemeanor, while growing more than that is a felony. H. 511 does not allow commercial production and distribution for the recreational market. Scott, a Republican elected in 2016, has appointed a commission to study that issue.
The noncommercial approach is similar to a bill advancing in neighboring New Hampshire. There, the House passed a similar legalization measure on Tuesday
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