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What’s next for Vermont and cannabis

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What’s next for Vermont and cannabis

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Thor Benson / Cannabis News Box Contributor

Adult possession of cannabis is now legal in Vermont, but the state has still not legalized social use sales. Vermont’s Senate passed a bill that would legalize commercial sales earlier this year, but it was killed in the House.

“The newly enacted law legalizes adult possession, but it does not address retail sales,” Paul Armentano, deputy director of NORML, told Cannabis News Box. “Separate legislation that sought to regulate sales was previously passed by the Vermont Senate but was ultimately held by members of the House.”

Vermont became the first state to legalize cannabis through its legislature in January, and that law is now in effect. Adults in Vermont can now possess up to an ounce of cannabis and have two adult plants and four immature plants on their own property. Smoking in your car is still illegal, as is smoking in public or selling what you grow.

According to Armentano, there may be a reason to believe commercial sales aren’t coming any time soon. He said it seems voters in the state are concerned about cannabis being overly commercialized, so they might prefer to keep things as they are. That means fighting for commercial sales might not be part of campaigning for most politicians leading up to the election in November.

“Republican Gov. Phil Scott is up for re-election in November, but overall I doubt that this will be a ‘major’ campaign issue in Vermont,” he said. “The state’s population possesses a fairly strong, unique anti-corporate streak so there exists some reluctance among lawmakers to move forward with policy changes that some see as encouraging commercialization of the market. This attitude may change over time and there’s no doubt that broader regulation will be debated again by lawmakers next session.”

Many cannabis advocates in the state do want to see the legalization of sales happen, though, as it could be a large revenue generator, and many want to buy products that are possibly more professionally grown than what they can manage. That said, there may not be enough pressure for sales to get lawmakers to pass new legislation this year or maybe even next.

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What’s next for Vermont and cannabis