Vermont Takes one Step Closer Towards Commercialized Legalization

While adult-use has been legal in Vermont since 2018, the state has yet to pass legislation establishing a system for retail sales. 

That’s why the bill that legalizes commercial adult-use cannabis in Vermont is officially on it’s way to the desk of Governor Phil Scott. 

Thus, while possession of up to one ounce of flower, and cultivation of two plants are legal, there has been no way to buy or sell it. 

Approved in a 23-6 vote by the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, September 15th, the House of Representatives passed the final version by a margin of 92-54.

S.54

The bill, S. 54, would allow for the distribution and sales of cannabis across the entire state, and impose a 30% THC limit on cannabis flower, and a 60% cap on concentrates. All sales would be subject to a 14% excise tax, in addition to the state’s 6% sales tax.

The newly proposed bill also includes social equity provisions such as prioritizing business licenses for minorities and those disproportionately impacted by the War on Drugs. 

As in many other states, flavored vape cartridges will be prohibited to prevent marketing to younger users. 

The Senate also approved S. 234, a separate legislation which would automatically expunge low-level cannabis convictions of more than 100 people. Under the companion bill, anyone convicted of possession offenses for under 2 ounces of cannabis would be eligible for expungement. 

So, Can I buy Weed yet?

While the new bills have been approved by the House of Representatives, they still require a signature from Republican Gov. Phil Scott, who has not yet indicated whether he will definitely sign it. 

Scott did, however, note that lawmakers have addressed many of his concerns and “come a long way” in re-working the legislation. 

If signed, Vermont will join the current 10 states plus Washington D.C. that have instituted laws around regulation and sales of  recreational cannabis. 

Senator Dick Sears, the lead sponsor of the commercialization bill, expressed his hope for Scott’s approval to Marijuana Moment prior to the vote, stating, “This has been a long, winding road getting to this point.” 

“This bill is not perfect. It is the result of compromise between the Senate, the House and even the governor’s office. I don’t know if he will sign it, but I would be surprised if he didn’t,” he continued.

According to the state’s Potential Timeline for S.54, the act will take effect October 1st, 2020. However, it’s unlikely any retail storefronts will pop up until at least the end of next year. 

 

New York Decriminalizes Cannabis and Expunges Records

Emerald contributor since June 2019

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