Congratulations: Vermont Recreational Marijauna Sales Begin
Vermont has legalized the sale of marijuana, and Gov. Phil Scott (R) announced Wednesday that he will introduce a law legalizing the sale of marijuana. The latest bill builds on the state's previous marijuana law, the Marijuana Policy Act of 2010, but allows for a commercialized system. Vermont previously legalized the possession and cultivation of cannabis, as well as possession of up to an ounce of pot for personal use.
The legislation is scheduled to take effect this month, but state regulators have until July 1 to begin issuing licenses to retailers, meaning legal sales could be two years away. Separately, Scott signed a bill aimed at automating the exclusion process for past marijuana convictions and exempting people from their marijuana criminal records. Anyone who receives a notice of termination will receive a notification by post, according to the bill.
The governor's decision makes Vermont the 11th state to legalize the sale of marijuana for recreational purposes, but a decade ago, zero states did so.
Several other states, including New Jersey and Arizona, will vote in November on whether to legalize marijuana for medical and recreational purposes.
Scott expressed reservations about the right to buy and suggested that lawmakers should change it before it becomes law. Among other things, he feared that the system created by the law would give new entrants an unfair advantage in market access and that a 30% excise tax would be withdrawn from the legislature, used for drug abuse programs, or used for other, unrelated purposes.
Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, but under President Barack Obama's administration, the federal government has generally allowed states to legalize cannabis with minimal government intervention.
Legalization advocates argue that it eliminates the billions of dollars that flow from the black market for illegal marijuana to drug cartels, which then use the money for violent operations around the world. Opponents, meanwhile, claim that legalizing a huge marijuana industry would allow the drug to be marketed irresponsibly. Advocates of legalization say that the economic benefits for the state and its citizens outweigh the potential for increased cannabis use and drug trafficking that could accompany legalization.
He points to America's history of heavy users in the alcohol and tobacco industries, which built their financial empires largely on the heavy consumption of their products. If pot had negative health consequences, it would lead to many more people using it, leading to higher prices for the drug and more drug trafficking. In Vermont, supporters have now won the support of more than 60 percent of the state's voters and a majority of delegates.