Yesterday, Vermont became the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana sales and the second to do so via legislation (Illinois was the first in 2019). The State House of Representatives and State Senate previously approved a compromise bill legalizing marijuana sales and establishing a framework to regulate it, as we wrote about here. There was some concern that Governor Phil Scott, a Republican, would veto the bill, but he ultimately allowed it to become law without his signature. The act establishes a new Cannabis Control Board that will be responsible for regulating the cannabis market, including issuing licenses. Recreational sales, which likely won’t begin until October 2022, will be charged a 14% excise tax in addition to the state’s standard 6% sales tax.
While Vermont legalized possessing and growing small amounts of marijuana through legislation in 2018, the state had not passed any measure legalizing the sale of marijuana until yesterday. Steven Hawkins, the executive director for the Marijuana Policy Project, released a statement trumpeting the news: “The significance of Vermont’s decision to legalize and regulate cannabis sales, especially in a state with a Republican governor and through the legislative process, cannot be overstated… This is an historic move that adds to the momentum of our movement, and underlines its breadth and depth, and importantly, it comes as other state legislatures are poised to seriously consider legalization in the very near future.”
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