Vermont governor signs recreational marijuana bill into law

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Vermont’s governor privately signed a marijuana bill into law Monday, making the state the first in the nation to authorize through the Legislature the possession and use of recreational cannabis.

The law, which goes into effect July 1, allows adults to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana, two mature plants and four immature ones.

The statute signed by Republican Gov. Phil Scott contains no mechanism for the sale or taxation of marijuana, although the Legislature is expected to develop such a system.

Vermont’s move is an incremental reform that will have little impact for most people in the state, said Matt Simon, New England political director for pro-legalization group Marijuana Policy Project.

Vermont will become the ninth state in the country, along with Washington DC, to allow adult use.

The others authorized recreational marijuana through a popular vote, but Vermont law contains no mechanism that allows for a citizen referendum.

The governor had until the end of the day Monday to follow through with a promise to sign the bill into law.

Scott’s office issued a statement Monday afternoon saying he had signed the bill with “mixed emotions.”

“I personally believe that what adults do behind closed doors and on private property is their choice, so long as it does not negatively impact the health and safety of others, especially children,” Scott said in the statement.

– Associated Press