Vermont adult-use cannabis legalization bill stalls in legislature

The Vermont state House of Representatives has blocked consideration of a bill to legalize recreational marijuana in the state.

Lawmakers in the House refused to take up the bill late Wednesday during a special veto session.

The measure won approval in the Senate on a voice vote earlier in the day, and Senate negotiators said they had reached a deal with Republican Gov. Phil Scott on the measure. But the House refused to agree to suspend legislative rules so the measure could have been considered during this veto session.

Vermont’s legislature can take up the bill when lawmakers return in January and it still can be passed in time to have the same effective date – July 1, 2018.

The Senate’s latest proposal addressed Scott’s concerns when he vetoed the bill last month, Democratic Sen. Dick Sears said. The legislation would have made Vermont the ninth state to legalize adult-use marijuana and the first to do so through the legislature.

“We just met with the governor … It’s a bill that he’ll sign if we can get it to him,” Sears said before the House’s refusal to act on the legislation.

When Scott vetoed the bill last month, he said he wasn’t philosophically opposed to marijuana legalization but had concerns about public safety, children’s health and how to measure impaired drivers.

Meanwhile, Scott said Thursday he plans to appoint a commission to study ways to ensure public safety and how best to regulate marijuana.

– Associated Press