Vermont lawmakers in the House of Representatives have given initial approval to a bill that would legalize adult-use cannabis sales and create a regulated marketplace for the industry, according to a WCAX report.
Lawmakers voted 90-54 in favor of the bill during preliminary voting on Wednesday evening; the House will reconvene Thursday afternoon to debate additional amendments before taking an official, final vote on the issue. If Wednesday’s vote is upheld, the bill will head to a conference committee where amendments to the Senate-approved version will be addressed.
The bill would establish an adult-use cannabis regulatory body called the Cannabis Control Board to oversee the industry. If it becomes law, cannabis products would be taxed at 20 percent under the bill and municipal authorities would not be able to add any additional local taxes; THC potency in commercial cannabis products, meanwhile, would be capped at 30 percent for flower and 60 percent for concentrates.
The bill originated in the Senate and passed through the House Government Operations Committee, the House Ways and Means Committee, and the House Appropriations Committee before reaching a full floor vote.
Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) has said he would support a regulated adult-use industry, so long as law enforcement in the state could rely on saliva-based intoxication tests for cannabis.
In 2018, Vermont was the first state in the U.S. to legalize adult-use cannabis via the legislature, not by a voter ballot initiative. Lawmakers then, however, only legalized the possession and home cultivation of cannabis, although polls suggest that Vermont residents strongly support the creation of an adult-use cannabis marketplace.