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Vermont Senate Finance Committee Approves Cannabis Legalization Bill

Vermont’s Senate Finance Committee approved the details of a recreational cannabis legalization bill last Friday. The committee settled on a 25% sales tax and a half-ounce limit on possession.

Sen. Tim Ashe (D-Chittenden) had stated previously that the committee wanted to set taxes at a rate that would allow the legal market to compete effectively with existing black markets.

The committee approved the bill by a 6-1 vote, putting it on its way to a floor vote.

Gov. Peter Shumlin tweeted his support for the bill last Friday:

He also issued this statement:

“I want to thank the Senate Finance Committee for (its) work and Sen. Tim Ashe for his leadership. Today’s vote builds upon the good work started by Senator Sears and the Senate Judiciary Committee. I am encouraged by the deliberate approach the Senate is taking on this issue, using the lessons learned from other states to craft a bill that is well thought out. We can take a smarter approach and I look forward to continuing to work to get a bill that ends the failed era of marijuana prohibition in Vermont.”

The Senate Judiciary version of the bill had come under fire when senators removed a part of the bill that would have allowed citizens to grow cannabis at home. Judiciary chairman Sen. Dick Sears (D-Bennington) said the issue of homegrown cannabis was a “line in the sand.”

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