Lawmakers in the Vermont House and Senate came to an agreement last night over legislation to legalize and regulate adult-use cannabis sales. The bill S.54 previously passed both legislative bodies but in different forms. Now, those differences have been reconciled and the bill needs final approval from the House and Senate it heads to the governor’s desk.
The bill includes priority licensing for small cultivators, women-owned businesses, and for businesses owned by people of color and other over-policed communities. The bill would also create a new cannabis commission that will regulate the medical and adult-use markets, and would require independent lab testing of all cannabis products sold in the new marketplace.
The bill will also require law enforcement to acquire a search warrant before conducting any saliva-based sobriety tests, and such tests would not be allowed during traffic stops.
Gov. Phil Scott (R) has not yet indicated whether he intends to sign the legislation.
“This final agreement has been a long time coming. Legislators should be applauded for their patience and their persistence. Vermont urgently needs the jobs, business opportunities, and tax revenue that S. 54 will provide. We hope Gov. Scott will see the wisdom in signing this bill into law.” — Matt Simon, Political Director for Marijuana Policy Project New England, via Heady Vermont