Rec legalization no slam dunk in Vermont

One of the prime states expected to legalize adult use cannabis this year via its legislature may not get across the goal line after all.

A legalization bill won a narrow victory in the Vermont state Senate last week, but getting a legalization bill passed in the state’s House of Representatives will be even more difficult, according to Vermont Public Radio. The bill now heads to the House Judiciary Committee, which will begin its deliberations in mid-March.

House Speaker Shap Smith told VPR that the Green Mountain State should regulate marijuana, but wasn’t sure if the Senate’s bill is the best way to do it. He added that key House members had “significant reservations” about the bill, and that if a vote were held now, it would fail.

According to a VPR poll last month, 55% of Vermonters, including Gov. Peter Shumlin, support legalization.

Under the Senate bill, small cultivator license fees would begin at $1,000, while large cultivator license fees would cost $25,000, according to WPTZ news. The senate version also calls for a 25% tax on cannabis sales, with the revenue being allocated for law enforcement and drug prevention and treatment programs. If the Senate version were to pass, state regulators would start issuing cultivation licenses next year, while retail sales would begin in 2018.