NEWS BRIEF

Vermont Senate gives initial OK to recreational cannabis sales

Vermont senate recreational marijuana sales, Vermont Senate gives initial OK to recreational cannabis sales

Vermont’s Senate is poised to give final approval to legislation establishing a commercial recreational marijuana market, after giving a preliminary thumbs-up by a lopsided 23-5 margin.

The bill will receive a final Senate vote – probably on March 1 – before heading to the House, where it is expected to run into more resistance.

Gov. Phil Scott, a Republican, also represents a major hurdle. He has indicated he likely would veto the bill if it passes both chambers.

Scott reluctantly signed an adult-use legalization bill last year, but that measure allows only home cultivation and possession.

As a result, businesses have found themselves limited to providing services and goods to home growers and consulting services.

The Senate bill would enable a commercial market to launch during the first half of 2021.

According to a summary prepared by the Marijuana Policy Project, the measure would include:

  • Licensing priority to Vermont businesses, including existing medical marijuana dispensaries and businesses that are environmentally sustainable and/or owned by minorities or women.
  • Preference to small cultivators during the initial licensing round in an effort to support small, local farmers.
  • A limit of one license of any type, at one location, for each applicant.
  • A retail sales tax of 10%. Municipalities that allow retail stores could establish a separate 1% sales tax.

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