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The Cannabis Catch-Up: Legal Vermont Pot No Longer a Pipe Dream


Published January 12, 2018 at 11:40 a.m.

Look who's coming to town - LUKE EASTMAN
  • Luke Eastman
  • Look who's coming to town
Vermont marijuana legalization has gone from a slow burn to full-on blaze.

Approximately 24 hours after the Vermont Senate voted Wednesday to legalize marijuana, Gov. Phil Scott said publicly what many have waited years to hear: He’ll sign the bill.

It’s hard to overstate what a milestone this is. Only about eight months earlier, Scott vetoed a very similar piece of legislation. With minor tweaks, and surely plenty of feedback from pro-legalization forces, the bill now is expected to soon become law. Beginning July 1, adult Vermonters would be allowed to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and up to six cannabis plants (two mature and four immature).

It’s unclear when exactly Scott will sign. Lawyers will review the bill before it heads to the governor’s desk. Scott, a Republican, has not committed to holding a public ceremony when he signs the bill .

Not that marijuana proponents really care where he signs it, as long as he does.
Here are some other cannabis stories from the past week:

January 9: All of New England could soon allow legal pot. New Hampshire is the latest state to float the idea — think “Live Free and High.” On Tuesday, the Granite State’s House of Representatives voted for legal weed. The bill is similar to Vermont’s: possession would be legal but cannabis sales would not be. [Dan Tuohy and Annie Ropeik, NHPR]

January 9: On Tuesday — the day before the Vermont Senate voted for legalization — activists and marijuana proponents descended on Montpelier for a cannabis reform day at the Statehouse. Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman and state Sen. Joe Benning (R-Caledonia) were among the speakers at the daylong event, which also featured a cannabis and hemp education session. [TG Branfalt, Heady Vermont]

January 10: The elderly parents of Justin Jiron, a deputy Chittenden County state’s attorney, are back in trouble with the law in Nebraska.

Patrick and Barbara Jiron first made news before Christmas, when cops said they discovered $300,000 worth of weed in the couple's vehicle during a traffic stop. They were arrested in Nebraska again on Tuesday when police found $18,000 in suspected drug cash during another traffic stop. The couple originally told police they’d been driving east from California with weed intended as Christmas presents for friends and relatives. [WCAX]

January 10: A new study found that legalized marijuana across the country could earn the federal government more than $132 billion in tax revenue and could create 1 million new jobs over a decade.

“When there are budget deficits and the like, everybody wants to know where is there an additional revenue stream, and one of the most logical places is to go after cannabis and cannabis taxes,” said Beau Whitney, a senior economist at New Frontier Data, which conducted the study. [Katie Zezima, the Washington Post]

January 11: Kentucky is inching toward a medical marijuana program. Lawmakers submitted a bill to the state's House of Representatives on Wednesday. "What started as a whisper years ago is now a loud chorus. Kentuckians have declared 2018 as the year they expect action on medical marijuana from their legislators," said Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes. [Joshua Sammons, the Ledger Independent]

January 11: Québec’s proposed marijuana legalization law would allow users to smoke anywhere cigarettes are allowed, except for on college campuses. But the province will give its individual municipalities the ability to impose more stringent rules on public cannabis consumption. Those who want it banned from parks and other public spaces worry that children will be exposed to marijuana.

"If someone, that's what they want to do at the end of their nine-to-five job rather than have a glass of wine, they want to smoke their fatty, that's their business," said Scott Pearce, the mayor of Gore Township. "However, I think we have to be very careful about the message we send to the children of our community." [Angelica Montgomery, CBC News]

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