Vermont lawmakers OK rec marijuana, home growing

The Vermont Legislature has become the first in the nation to approve a bill that would legalize the use and home cultivation of recreational cannabis, a move that ultimately could pave the way for a regulated commercial market in the state.

The milestone came after House lawmakers voted Wednesday to approve a legalization proposal written by their colleagues in the Senate. It now goes to Gov. Phil Scott, who is leery of legalization and has not said whether he will sign the measure, the Burlington Free Press reported.

If Scott does indeed sign the bill, the measure would establish a nine-member commission to study how to tax and regulate adult-use cannabis. The panel would submit a plan to the legislature, providing a potential pathway to a fully regulated commercial market.

The bill also would offer a limited number of business opportunities for the ancillary cultivation segment, such as lighting, nutrients and other grow supplies, as well as odor-reduction technologies and packaging. Such firms could serve home growers.

The legislation would legalize the possession of up to an ounce of cannabis for those older than 21, and adults could possess two mature plants and up to four immature plants.

If Scott signs the bill, the new law would become effective July 1, 2018.

The study commission would include:

  • Two members each from the Vermont House and Senate
  • The state attorney general and agriculture secretary
  • Gov. Scott
  • Two members of the public

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