Montpelier, VT — Today, the Vermont House of Representatives cast a final vote (92-56) in favor of S. 54 — legislation that would legalize, regulate, and tax cannabis sales. House and Senate negotiators reached a final agreement on the provisions of S. 54 earlier this week. The bill will require a final vote from the Senate before it proceeds to the desk of Gov. Phil Scott, who has not yet indicated whether he will sign it. You can find a summary of the bill here.
If S. 54 is enacted, Vermont would join 10 states that have laws regulating and taxing cannabis for adult use. Vermont remains one of only two U.S. jurisdictions where cannabis is legal but where adult-use sales are still illegal and unregulated. The other jurisdiction is Washington, D.C., which has less autonomy than states. Congress has prevented D.C. from legalizing and regulating cannabis sales.
An overwhelming 76% of Vermont residents support allowing adults 21 and over to purchase cannabis from regulated, tax-paying small businesses according to a poll conducted by Public Policy Polling and commissioned by the Marijuana Policy Project earlier this year. The complete results are available here.
Statement from Matt Simon, New England political director at the Marijuana Policy Project:
“It’s exciting to see that Vermont is on the cusp of ending cannabis prohibition for adults. Most Vermonters are not interested in growing their own plants, and many are unable to do so because it is prohibited by their rental agreements, so the only sensible policy is to create a regulated market for adult-use cannabis in Vermont. Governor Scott should recognize the merits of this bill and sign it into law after it passes the Senate.”