Vermont will be the next U.S. state to legalize recreational cannabis

Vermont will be the next U.S. state to legalize recreational cannabis

Vermont will be the next U.S. state to legalize recreational cannabis

There is mixed reaction after Vermont's legislature moves to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.

The measure now awaits action from Republican Gov. Phil Scott, who vetoed similar legislation a year ago. In an interview with the Burlington Free Press, he said, "I'm not philosophically opposed to it", adding that he wanted any legal marijuana system to address highway safety and protecting children from edible marijuana products. "Public opinion obviously matters, but again, I have to do what I think is right for the state throughout from a public safety standpoint".

House Bill 511 eliminates existing civil penalties specific to the possession of up to one ounce of cannabis, and also removes criminal penalties with regard to the private cultivation of six marijuana plants (two mature and up to four immature).

Marijuana is illegal under federal law, but the Obama administration enacted policies that allowed states to legalize the plant without triggering government intervention. "It needs to be decided federally".

According to an investigation conducted by the Marijuana Policy Project, the first five states that legalized pot in the US (Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Nevada), generated over $485 million in tax revenue in the first nine months of 2017 from cannabis sales.

With Scott's signature, Vermont would become the first state to legalize recreational marijuana through legislation, rather than by voter initiative.

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