Vermont governor vetoes marijuana bill

The Latest on Vermont's governor vetoing a marijuana legalization bill (all times local): 2:40 p.m. Vermont Gov. Phil Scott is vetoing a bill that would have legalized recreational marijuana in the state and is sending it back to the legislature with suggestions for changes.

Almost 20 states have bills pending that would legalize adult-use marijuana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

"We're disappointed by the governor's decision to veto this widely supported legislation, but we're very encouraged by the governor's offer to work with legislators to pass a legalization bill during the summer veto session". Vermont would have been the first state to legalize marijuana by vote of a state legislative body.

"This version of the bill is now dead".

Vermont's legislature passed the measure six months after residents in MA and ME voted to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. The governor had previously said he did not consider marijuana legalization a priority and had concerns about the lack of a roadside test to detect driver impairment. It also established a nine member commission to make recommendations to the legislature regarding how best to regulate the adult use marijuana market.

The measure would have legalized possession of up to an ounce of cannabis for adults 21 and over, and it would have permitted home cultivation of up to two mature plants and four immature plants. Marijuana is less harmful than alcohol, and there is no good reason to continue treating responsible adult consumers like criminals.

Eight other states, plus the District of Columbia, have legalized recreational marijuana.

"Despite the veto, this is a huge leap forward", said Matt Simon, New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project, in a statement released Wednesday.

Those efforts at various state houses will continue next year, and 2018 will also likely see more marijuana legalization initiatives on state ballots.

  • Larry Hoffman