New Hampshire and Vermont move to legalize Marijuana, defying Jeff Sessions' new guidance

The Trump administration (via Attorney General Jeff Sessions) kicked off 2018 by rescinding guidance that essentially let states do what they want with their marijuana policy. At the time, it seemed like an idea cutting against political momentum. Now, it seems, if anything, that the approach has backfired, as states that had previously tabled the issue of marijuana are dusting off old bills and giving them new life.


Here are 5 states looking to legalize marijuana in 2018

The marijuana movement is charging ahead.

To date eight states — California, Colorado, Nevada to name a few — have legalized weed for recreational use since 2012. And the trend continues.

This year, several states all across the country are looking to legalize and, in turn, rake in millions of dollars in tax revenue.

Even with the Trump administration’s announcement last week that it would scrap an Obama-era policy offering legal shelter for state-sanctioned marijuana sales, organizers and lawmakers are forging forward with legalization efforts.

Here are some of those states:



Vermont house passes adult-use cannabis bill

Lawmakers in Vermont approved a similar measure in 2017, but it was vetoed by Governor Phil Scott, who was waiting for the results of a report on the effect of legalization on impairment.

H. 511 would eliminate Vermont's civil penalty for possessing one ounce or less of marijuana and remove penalties for possession of up to two mature marijuana plants and up to four immature plants, beginning in July.

The bill is expected to win approval in the Senate, which passed a almost identical version a year ago.


Vermont legislature advances marijuana legalization

Vermont lawmakers took quick action toward legalizing marijuana Wednesday, mere hours after the opening gavel of the 2018 legislative session.

Members of the House Judiciary Committee approved a minor change to a bill that would legalize possession of up to an ounce of marijuana for those 21 and older — and the cultivation of two mature and four immature pot plants. It would take effect in July.

The move sets up a vote on the House floor Thursday and, if the bill passes, a Senate vote as early as next week. Gov. Phil Scott, a Republican, has said he would sign such a measure into law if it reached his desk in its current form. 

Rep. Maxine Grad (D-Moretown), who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, marveled Wednesday at the bill's newfound momentum.


These states could legalize recreational cannabis in 2018

As of January 1, California began allowing the sale of marijuana to anyone over the age of 21. The move is expected to give a significant boost to California’s marijuana farmers, distributors, and retailers; an industry that analysts estimate will be worth around $7 billion within the next few years.

Although California started off the year with the most buzz around bud, it’s not the only state slated to legalize pot in 2018. The following states have either already legalized and are starting to transition into the commercial sale of weed, or are poised to let citizens legally toke.

New Jersey


Vermont is set to legalize recreational marijuana next month

Vermont is set to ring in the New Year by legalizing recreational marijuana. There is already a legalization bill in the legislature, and it's expected to pass in the very near future, according to the speaker of Vermont's House of Representatives, writes James McClure.

“It will be up for a vote in early January,” Speaker Mitzi Johnson (D) said last week. “I expect that it likely will pass in early January.”


Will your state be the next to legalize marijuana? Here's 5 that are close

Next year could see a huge shift in favor of green, and we’re not talking about the environment.

Lawmakers have taken notice of the shift in public opinion on marijuana legalization, and many are no longer afraid that supporting legal weed is political suicide. There are now eight states and the District of Columbia that have legalized marijuana, and four of those laws were enacted in the past year alone.


Vermont hemp farmers voice concerns as marijuana legalization looms

Local 22 & Local 44 first reported in September that hemp farming in Vermont had grown significantly. Now, some farmers think the hemp farming industry could face big changes if its close cousin marijuana is legalized.

Coming up in January, a report commissioned by Governor Phil Scott is expected to come out with recommendations of how recreational marijuana should be regulated in the state. With talk of the report, some say the hemp conversation is changing– like Joel Bedard, the CEO of the Vermont Hemp Co.

"We're really diverting away from the hemp conversation of grain and fiber and the cannabinoids that can be extracted from industrial hemp,” Bedard said.


States consider best ways to legalize recreational marijuana

A special legislative commission is looking into the potential effects of legalizing recreational marijuana in Rhode Island as the state's northern neighbor readies to allow recreational marijuana sales.

Bills to legalize and tax recreational marijuana in Rhode Island have stalled in previous legislative sessions. The General Assembly agreed in June to look into the issue further by creating the commission.

It met for the first time Wednesday.

Voters in Massachusetts approved legalizing the adult use of recreational marijuana in November. Massachusetts officials have been cautious about the rollout and sales have been delayed.


Vermont's medical marijuana dispensaries corner the market. The biggest wants competition

Vermont's handful of medical marijuana dispensaries have exclusive permission to grow and sell marijuana in the state.  If and when lawmakers legalize non-medical weed, they will likely have a head start on a very profitable industry.

From the outside, Shayne Lynn's 2,800-square-foot building in Milton looks more like an insurance company's headquarters than a marijuana production plant.  Inside, thousands of marijuana plants grow under artificial light. Some are secured behind glass windows, others obscured inside shipping containers.

"We've been here probably roughly two years in this building now," Lynn says as he walks upstairs. "So I would say every month there's something new going on." 


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