Vermont poised to approve recreational marijuana

Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman addresses supporters of a tax-and-regulate marijuana legalization plan at the Statehouse on Tuesday

Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman addresses supporters of a tax-and-regulate marijuana legalization plan at the Statehouse on Tuesday. Bob Kinzel VPR

The Vermont Senate has given its approval to legislation legalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

The bill would allow adults over 21 to possess of up to 1 ounce of marijuana and have two mature marijuana plants or four immature plants.

"I made that commitment", Scott said. That would make Vermont the ninth state plus D.C.to legalize marijuana.

"We have to come up with a way to determine impairment on our highways, regardless of what the substance is", Scott says. Vermont's Senate had previously passed a version of the bill last summer, but today's vote was required to approve the House of Representatives' decision to remove a study commission from the bill.

Republican Gov. Phil Scott has said he would sign the bill. All other legal states have enacted their laws through ballot initiatives, which don't exist at the state-level in Vermont.

Passed with a simple voice vote, the "Yea" vote won.

Neighboring Massachusetts, nearby ME and six other states have legalized cannabis use as a result of voter initiatives. 511, it is unlikely to be the last time the Senate votes on a cannabis bill, as many in the chamber still hope to pass a tax-and-regulate structure for recreational marijuana sales.

Six the states that have legalized recreational marijuana now have laws in place that let adults purchase retail weed from legal dispensaries - Alaska, California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington state.

The Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Rhode Island legislatures are expected to seriously consider making marijuana legal for adults this year as well, and the New Hampshire House approved a similar measure on Tuesday.

Passage would put the state directly at odds with the Trump administration.

The Marijuana Policy Project is the nation's largest marijuana policy organization.

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