Vermont Is On The Verge Of Legal-Weed History

Here's why it's pretty big deal for the marijuana movement

Photo Illustration: Diana Quach
May 10, 2017 at 5:05 PM ET

Lawmakers in Vermont finalized a bill on Wednesday to legalize recreational marijuana, marking an historic first for a legislative body in the U.S.

The state’s House of Representatives passed the bipartisan measure, which received approval from the Senate the week before. Under the proposal, adults in the state would be able to possess up to one ounce of weed beginning in 2018 and grow as many as six pot plants. It would also create a study commission to begin to explore how to regulate a retail marijuana market in Vermont in the future.

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The bill is now headed for the desk of Governor Phil Scott, who has not indicated whether he will sign it and has expressed some concerns over public safety, according to the Burlington Free Press. Regardless, pro-pot advocates see the effort by Vermont lawmakers to be a watershed moment in the legalization movement. Eight other states and Washington, D.C. have legalized recreational marijuana since 2012. But each one did so through a voter-approved referendum — not the legislative process.

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“We are now at a point where the issue has become so popular with voters that more politicians are feeling comfortable enough to grapple with it themselves,” Tom Angell, the founder of Marijuana Majority, a national advocacy group, told Vocativ on Wednesday. 

Twenty-nine states, including Vermont, have also legalized medical marijuana.