MONTPELIER, Vt. (CN) – With admittedly “mixed emotions,” Vermont’s Republican governor signed a first-of-its-kind bill Monday legalizing recreational marijuana in the Green Mountain State.
Eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana, the bill, H. 511, marks the first time such a law was passed by the Legislature without a public referendum. The bill will allow Vermonters to legally carry up to 1 oz. of pot and have two mature plants or four immature plants.
Though Gov. Phil Scott vetoed an earlier version of the bill in May 2017, he hammered out a compromise with the Democratic-controlled General Assembly prior to the next veto session.
The governor emphasized in a letter to lawmakers that it is his personal belief “that what adults do behind closed doors and on private property is their choice, so long as it does not negatively impact the health and safety of others, especially children.”
Sale and public consumption of marijuana is still illegal, and Vermont will still penalize marijuana possession by individuals who have been convicted of felony sale of marijuana or of selling a regulated drug to minors, or on school grounds.
Vermont will not collect any tax revenue from the legalization and has no plans to commercialize the market, yet. Scott has created a commission to develop marijuana education and highway-safety strategies as a precursor to any sort of tax-regulated system. “Until we have a workable plan to address each of these concerns, I will veto any additional effort along these lines which manages to reach my desk,” Scott said.