Vermont Governor Signs Recreational Marijuana Law

Despite pressure from opponents to veto the legislation Gov. Phil Scott has signed into law a bill that will legalize possession of small amounts of marijuana

Vermont Governor Signs Marijuana Legalization Bill Into Law, Takes Effect July 1

His office issued a statement Monday afternoon saying he had signed the bill.

Phil Scott on Monday signed a bill into law that eliminates criminal penalties for possession of marijuana. And that move will undoubtedly influence nearby states to consider reforming their marijuana laws as well. Scott said in a released statement.

It also toughens criminal penalties for using marijuana in a vehicle with a child present and for using or growing marijuana at facilities that serve children. Some proponents of marijuana legalization have criticized the law for not going far enough.

Once it takes effect on July 1, Vermont will become the ninth state in the country, along with Washington, D.C., to approve the recreational use of marijuana.

Vermont will not collect any tax revenue from the legalization and has no plans to commercialize the market, yet.

Gov. Phil Scott has privately signed Vermont's recreational marijuana bill into law "with mixed emotions".

"After more than 15 years of hard work by [the Marijuana Policy Project] and our allies in the state, adults in Vermont no longer need to fear being fined or criminalized for low-level marijuana possession and cultivation", says Matt Simon, MPP's New England political director. "This is a great step forward for the state and the whole region". But it creates a Marijuana Regulatory Commission (with the same membership as the advisory commission that Scott appointed last September) that is charged with studying "regulation and taxation of a commercial adult-use marijuana market that is economically sustainable, reduces the illegal marijuana market, [and] results in net revenues to the State after appropriate costs for education, public health and public safety have been deducted". Unlike some reports, this bill will not legalize marijuana sales. The Green Mountain State joins 8 other states that have legalized recreational marijuana but has also managed to achieve an even rarer milestone. Scott made the decision to sign it behind closed doors because he didn't think it was appropriate to hold a signing ceremony for the controversial legislation. will update this story as soon as more information is available.

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