Recreational Marijuana Bill Introduced in Vermont

Vermont Sen. David Zuckerman has proposed a bill that would legalize, tax and regulate the sale and use of recreational marijuana.

But don’t expect much movement this year: Zuckerman dubbed 2014 a “building year, more than a passage year” for legalization efforts.

The bill would create a framework for the wholesale and retail sale of marijuana under the authority of the state’s Liquor Control Board, similar to the I-502 legalization measure in Washington State. The bill proposes an excise tax of $50 per ounce and would prohibit anyone under the age of 21 from purchasing recreational marijuana.

Vermont previously legalized medical marijuana, but the industry has grown slowly. The state now has approximately 900 registered patients, and its fourth dispensary is set to open this year. Last year, the state decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

Echoing Zuckerman’s sentiments that 2014 isn’t the optimal time for legalization, the Washington DC-based Marijuana Policy Project said it would not push for recreational marijuana in Vermont this year either. Instead, the group – which has helped pass marijuana laws across the country – will aim for legalization in 2015.

On the medical marijuana front, advocates will work this year to remove the 1,000-person cap on the number of patients that buy from dispensaries, and add post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and insomnia to the list of qualifying medical conditions.