The House Ways and Means Committee approved S. 241 on Friday (6-3) after amending it to allow adults in Vermont to possess and grow small amounts of marijuana. The bill will now go to the House Appropriations Committee for consideration.
S. 241 still does not create a regulated system of marijuana cultivation and sales, but it now allows adults 21 years of age and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana. It also now allows adults to grow a limited amount of marijuana in their homes after receiving a license that will cost $125.
"Many Vermonters have been very vocal in support of allowing limited home cultivation, and it appears their voices did not fall on deaf ears," said Matt Simon, the Montpelier-based New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project. "This amendment breathes new life into S. 241. The House is engaged in a very deliberative process, and we're hopeful it will do the right thing and end marijuana prohibition in Vermont."
The version of S. 241 approved by the Senate in February would make possession of marijuana legal for adults and create a regulated marijuana market. The House Judiciary Committee voted last week to strip those provisions from the bill and instead call for further study. If S. 241 passes the House in a different form than it passed the Senate, it would likely end up in a conference committee where legislators from both chambers would attempt to reach a compromise.
In February, Vermont Public Radio released the results of a poll conducted by the Castleton Polling Institute that found 55% of Vermonters support passing a law to legalize and regulate marijuana for adult use. Only 32% said they are opposed. Gov. Peter Shumlin, Attorney General William Sorrell, and two former attorneys general have expressed support for the measure.
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Source: The Vermont Coalition to Regulate Marijuana is a broad coalition of citizens, organizations, and businesses working to end marijuana prohibition in Vermont and replace it with a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed. For more information, visit http://www.RegulateVermont.org.