There has been a lot of talk about which state will be the next to legalize marijuana for more than just medical use, and it’s now beginning to look as though Vermont may be the next happy place in the United States. Before you start getting excited and think about loading up your marijuana vaporizer, it should be noted that legalization cannot yet be considered a slam dunk. The opening signs are optimistic, though, but a recently introduced bill has picked up some rather vocal support from Governor Peter Shumlin (D). Perhaps more surprising is that the State Senate’s minority leader, a Republican, has also thrown support behind the bill.
The biggest question that the people of Vermont probably have at this time is likely to be how their marijuana legislation would look when compared to the other states that allow recreational use right now. Those hoping for the same sort of freedom enjoyed by marijuana-filled vapor pen users in Colorado, Alaska, and Oregon are likely going to be a little disappointed, as the Vermont legislation is likely to be more in line with Washington D.C. That means being able to purchase and possess 1 ounce of marijuana, as long as you are over 21, but not being able to grow plants at home.
People from out of state would be allowed to buy a ¼ ounce at a time, and it would be decided by an independent committee whether or not the sale of edibles and concentrates would be permitted. The bill made no mention of a tax rate, and that is something that will most likely be decided upon a good deal further down the line. The toughest part of the process is going to be getting legislation through the House, but the feeling is that there is an air of foregone conclusion to the who thing. People in power that are against the legalization are aware that they are fighting a losing battle, and are now seemingly more concerned about making sure that the final legislation is something they can live with, albeit grudgingly.
If the legislation does pass, which we assume it will, there will be some on the pro-marijuana side who will feel that what was passed isn’t comprehensive enough. They should be looking at this as a first step in to what may become something bigger, as there is verbiage in the bill that would allow for a less restrictive form of legislation to be discussed at a later date. Right now, it’s all about getting the ball rolling, and having Vermont join the growing group of states were recreational marijuana is legal. As APP mentioned recently, the first step has already been taken and the Vermont legislators will be doing their best to end cannabis prohibition in 2016.
A passing of the bill in Vermont could lead to Maine and Massachusetts also moving ahead with legalization plans. That would be on top of Arizona, California, and Nevada, all of whom are starting to lean towards legalization. It is a slow moving process, but one that is quickly beginning to gain some steam. Pretty soon we will not have steam, but perhaps water vapor with a little hint of marijuana.