For the second year in a row, Vermont State Senators have voted in favor of a bill that would legalize the possession, use, and distribution of cannabis for adults 21 and over, MyNBC5 reports.
Vermont Senators passed the bill despite a different legalization plan being circulated in the House, which many senators oppose for not establishing a regulatory structure to commercialize the cannabis industry.
The bill is an amended version of the legalization measure that Vermont Senators approved last year, which died in the House.
“We know that prohibition has not worked,” said Sen. Jeanette White, a Democrat from Windham. “Let’s make it safer, less accessible to kids.”
The proposal would eliminate criminal penalties for possession of up to an ounce of cannabis, legalize the home cultivation of the plant, and would establish a regulatory licensing system similar to legalization infrastructure employed in other legalized states. The bill would also allow unlimited small-scale grow licenses for commercial grows of up to 500 square feet but does not include language allowing cannabis-infused edibles. Under the proposal, taxes from cannabis growers and retailers would be used to fund youth prevention and education programs.
Senators who oppose the bill have argued that adult-use legalization would be a hasty move while there is not a reliable method of checking drivers for cannabis intoxication; Gov. Phil Scott, a Republican, has also voiced concerns about intoxicated drivers, though it’s unclear if he would veto a legalization bill if it came across his desk.
The bill moves next to the Vermont House, who turned down a similar proposal last year. With just two weeks left in the legislative session, however, it is possible that this move was made in preparation for the 2018 legislative session.
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