Vermont Senate Approves Legalization of Marijuana Possession and Cultivation, Awaits Governor’s Signature

thumbs_upToday, the Vermont state Senate approved a measure that would legalize the possession and limited home cultivation of marijuana. Under this legislation, H. 511, individuals 21 years of age or older would be able to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and cultivate a limited amount for personal use.

“While prohibitionists like Attorney General Jeff Sessions desperately try to force our country to return to the dark ages, his flailing seems to be for naught, as Vermont is now positioned to be the first state to legalize marijuana possession by legislative action,” said NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri, “The American people have made their position clear, it is time to move away from the failed policies of the past and to move in the sensible direction of legalization. Vermont will likely be the first state to take such an action this year, it is unlikely to be the last with New Jersey, Delaware, New Hampshire, Connecticut and others likely to give legalization legislation serious consideration during the 2018 legislative session.”

H. 511 was approved by the state’s lower chamber last week in a 81-63 vote. Now that it has passed the state Senate, the bill will be sent to Governor Phil Smith for his signature. Despite vetoing a similar effort last year, Governor Scott has stated he would likely sign this renewed effort.

Passage of legalization in Vermont in 2018 would be a legislative first. To date, all eight states that have enacted legalization of the adult use of marijuana, as well as the District of Columbia have done so by a direct vote of the people.

One in five Americans reside in a jurisdiction where the adult use of cannabis is legal under state statute, and the majority of citizens reside someplace where the medical use of cannabis is legally authorized. As is evidenced by Vermont lawmakers’ actions, it is clear that the Trump administration is not going to be able to cease this momentum in favor of the enactment of rational marijuana policies.

“For the second time in two years, Vermont lawmakers have rejected the failed Flat Earth policies of marijuana prohibition,” NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano said,”The majority of Vermonters, like the majority of the American public, desire to live in a community where responsible adults who choose to consume cannabis are no longer criminalized or stigmatized. Governor Scott would be wise to provide Vermonters with this path forward, rather than cling to the failed policies of the past.”


12 thoughts

  1. Okay, Republicans. This is your boy, this Republican Governor Phil Scott. Now, bullshit walks.

    He’s already fucked this thing up once already and vetoed it over bullshit (no dispensaries — thanks alot, asshole) and he’s still being very picky and exploitive and coy about it.

    Will he sign it?

    Tell me when it’s a fact. Bullshit walks.

    1. Mark’s right. We’ve seen LePage’s obstruction in Maine. And he’s not even a Southern GOPer. Is Republican Scott going to continue obstructing too? We’ll see . . .

  2. Is it Phil Smith or Phil Scott? C’mon NORML, we gotta be on point or else we look like the stereotype the prohibitionists try to portray us as.

    1. Phillip Smith is an intrepid, award-winning journalist on the drug war beat, at Alternet and

  3. I am happy for Vermont but not having dispensaries to purchase seems to be the most idiotic way of legalizing. Won’t this just help the black market grow?

  4. Well THAT sailed through the Vermont Senate. Plenty of time for Governor Scott to sign it not only before the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment needs to be renewed by the 19th, (Take action here;

    …But the timing of our nation’s first legislatively enacted legal marijuana market will be signed legislation even before a crucial court date on the 14th when the case of Washington v. Sessions will be accepting oral arguments in defense of our 1st, 4th, 5th, 9th, 10th and 14th amendment rights.

    $#!* just got real.

    The reason legislatively enacted marijuana legislation marks a pivoting point in the fight to legalize marijuana markets federally is that Federal Judges and Federal Congress use legislatively enacted state laws as benchmarks for their own laws and decisions. Make no mistake, Vermont legalizing legislatively is evidence for federal legalization in Congress and Federal court as soon as it is signed by the Governor. Project SAM must be on their knees begging Governor Scott to veto this bill. But the pieces are already in play and a veto now would be the end of Scott’s career. And he knows it.

    Good work from MPP getting this legislation through all the firey hoops. Hopefully Vermont will soon be celebrating with hoops of sweet smoke of the Herb.
    Good work Vermont on keeping cultivation in this bill!

  5. While we smoke a joint and try and chill before Governor Scott makes history and passes our nation’s first legislatively enacted state marijuana market, we postulate the legal ramifications of this action not only on US federal marijuana reform, but the UN drug treaty from the 1961 drug convention;

    Canada will diplomatically confront this issue properly this summer, as it goes forward with a legalized national marijuana market. The correct way to break a treaty is to confront it with a better solution, expose its flaws before the convention and show solidarity to create a better, new world legalized marijuana market.

    And Canada will face odds; Russia, China and the African Union to name a few…

    Then theres the Trump administration.

    But despite Niki Haley’s appointment from a prohibitionist, Russian puppet administration, our Canadian neighbors will recognize another convention; the convention of US state legislatures. As more and more states legalize recreational marijuana markets, we embolden our neighbors to give it a try. Kinda like “pass it dont harrass it.”

    Vermont legalizing marijuana through legislative action is the official “tipping point” for ending marijuana prohibition world wide. Spark it up for the ride, regulators. It’s time for some action.

  6. David Borden, of, helps to see Trump for the monster that he truly is. He writes:

    In the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte became president of the Philippines in June 2016, having promised to slaughter hundreds of thousands of drugs users and sellers. An estimated 16,000 people have since been murdered by police and government-supported vigilante groups under the guise of drug enforcement.

    Trump, who in July drew condemnation from US law enforcement leaders for urging police to bash suspects’ heads on car door frames when arresting them, has also voiced approval for Duterte’s killing campaign, though without calling it that. First, in December 2016 Trump and Duterte spoke on the phone, after which Duterte claimed that Trump praised his drug policies.

    While Duterte could have made that up, the Trump team never rebutted the claim. And when the two spoke again in April, a statement on the White House web site said they discussed “fighting very hard to rid its country of drugs,” and a leaked transcript of the call quotes Trump congratulating Duterte for doing an “‘unbelievable job’ in the war on drugs.” Neither Trump nor his staff have qualified these statements to exclude the killings from that praise. And the president has never backed up his own State Department’s careful statements on the matter.

    Last weekend, Trump claimed during his Camp David speech that countries with “very harsh drug policies” have “much less difficulty.”

    Trump has thereby contributed to a larger “Duterte effect” in the region. The drug war killings have spread to Indonesia, where President Widodo is using them as a populist campaign tactic in a tough election campaign. In November a member of Malaysia’s parliament called for Duterte-style killings in that country. And last week Turkey’s Interior Minister said police should break drug dealers’ legs.

  7. The suspense is palpable isn’t it?

    If we only had a camera in Governor Scott’s office. We could hear the dying sounds of prohibition; the extinction burst tantrum, the extortion… Kevin Sabet trying to lick the dirt off Governor Scott’s shoes… [Better yet, no need for a camera]

    …But Scott said he would sign it…

    What the Vermont state legislature has done is historical. If there was ever a pivot or “tipping point” that we will look back on our marijuana movement and say “That’s it. That’s where we started winning,” it will be this week of the 15th of January, as Vermont becomes the first state to depenalize marijuana legislatively.

    We can only imagine the courage and intestinal fortitude it took for the state legislature to face down campaign money from private prisons, Big Pharma, our own DOJ and administration and face the chance that they won’t have the funding to win another campaign… some of these state Congressman are going with their gut and the confidence that the people of Vermont will come out and vote for them as the roll call becomes clear:

    In the House Roll Call above, the bill passed only 75 to 71!

    Whatever the outcome of the Governor’s decision, for those State Representatives who voted “Yay,” …You are true American patriots. We salute you for your service. Thank you!

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