With Vermont lawmakers working to fine-tune a recreational marijuana proposal, Gov. Phil Scott signed off on a bill to expand the state’s medical marijuana program.
The new law, which takes effect July 1, increases the number of dispensary licenses and expands the list of medical marijuana qualifying conditions, VTDigger reported.
The legislation creates a fifth dispensary license and allows another to be issued when Vermont’s MMJ patient count grows to 7,000, according to VTDigger. Lawmakers told the news website the patient count is now 4,000. The new statute also increases the number of locations a dispensary may open, from one to two.
The measure, S.16, also adds three new illnesses – Parkinson’s disease, Crohn’s disease and post-traumatic stress disorder – to Vermont’s list of qualifying conditions.
Scott’s move is significant because it comes only weeks after he vetoed a limited adult-use bill, and the expanded qualifying conditions could lead to a multitude of new patients – another indication the cannabis industry at large is continuing to surge.
Meanwhile, Vermont legislators have sent a revised cannabis legalization bill to Scott ahead of next week’s veto session.
A key change in the measure allows police to seize cannabis if someone possesses more than the law allows, possesses it where they’re not allowed or consumes the drug where not allowed, The Times Argus reported.
Scott said he vetoed the original adult-use bill – which would have made Vermont the first state to legalize marijuana through the legislature – because he wanted a law “that takes a much more thorough look at what public health, safety and education policies are needed.”