Vermont is one step from legalizing adult-use cannabis sales

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A bill that would legalize a commercial adult-use marijuana program in Vermont has been sent to the governor’s desk for his signature after the Senate passed the final version Tuesday by a resounding 23-6 margin.

Gov. Phil Scott, a Republican, hasn’t said whether he’ll definitely sign the bill – or let it pass into law – but he has indicated that many of his concerns with previous versions had been resolved.

If the measure is enacted, Vermont would become the second state in the nation to legalize a regulated commercial adult-use market through its legislature after the two chambers hammered out a compromise measure. The state House of representatives passed the final version by a 92-56 vote last week.

“This was a difficult compromise, but Legislators worked hard to ensure that a wide range of concerns were addressed,” Matt Simon, New England political director at the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a statement.

For example, Scott had made roadside testing a condition for signing the bill, and the Senate agreed to a House proposal to a roadside saliva test obtained with a warrant.

In 2019, Illinois became the first state in the nation to legalize retail cannabis sales via its Legislature.

More states, such as New York and Pennsylvania, are expected to legalize adult-use through their legislatures in the next year or two.

In Vermont, adult-use home grow and possession were legalized in 2018, but the legislation did not include a commercial sales and taxation program.

But, under the measure passed by Vermont lawmakers, recreational cannabis products would be taxed at 20%.

– Associated Press contributed to this report.