Politics

Vermont Governor Wants to Legalize Recreational Marijuana

Phil Scott Vetoed Recreational Marijuana, but Says He Simply Wants to Learn More from Other States Before he Approves

The Vermont governor is not opposed to legalizing recreational marijuana for adult use but does feel like he and the rest of the state do not understand it well enough, or have the right protocols in place to legalize it yet. It is a common theme in many states, counties, cities and towns that a reluctance exists in legalizing marijuana because they feel ignorant of what is involved.

It is the result of prohibition, where not only is consumption not allowed, but neither is research and knowledge permitted. However, the Vermont governor does have a number of states like Colorado and Washington to glean information from now. Do you think Vermont will legalize adult use marijuana in 2018?

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott last week announced the creation of the Governor’s Marijuana Advisory Commission which was conceived following Scott’s May veto of the first cannabis legalization bill ever passed by a state Legislature. Scott originally created the commission with an executive order following his veto action.

“As I’ve said before, I’m not philosophically opposed to eliminating the prohibition on recreational use by adults. However, I believe we have an obligation to learn from the experiences of other states, and have comprehensive education and highway safety protocols in place before moving to a fully taxed and regulated recreational-use marketplace,” Scott said in a press release. “We must ensure that any approach we take prioritizes public health and safety, particularly the health implications for our children, and the need to ensure safety on our roadways.”

The commission will consist of three subcommittees that will evaluate legalization, including one on road safety, a second on education and youth prevention, and a third to explore the options for a taxed and regulated market, including insurance, banking, and local zoning issues.

The commission will be chaired by former chairman of Vermont Democrats Jake Perkinson, and Burlington-based attorney Tom Little and will include two members appointed by the Senate Committee on Committees; two members appointed by the House Speaker; the Secretary of Agriculture or a designee; the Commissioner of Health or a designee; the Secretary of Commerce and Community Development or designee; the Commissioner of Taxes or designee; the state Attorney General or designee; and the Executive Director of the States’ Attorneys and Sheriffs, or designee.

The first meeting is set for Oct. 1, and the governor expects an initial report by Jan 15, 2018.

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