Vermont Senate approves bill to legalize recreational marijuana

Gov. Shumlin applauds action, urges House to follow suit.

In a tight vote Wednesday afternoon, Vermont state senators approved a measure to legalize recreational marijuana.

The 16-13 preliminary vote means the measure will be up for final approval in the Senate Thursday afternoon.

Sen. John Campbell, the president pro tem, voted no. He said the bill sends a terrible message to Vermont children.

Sen. Peg Flory, a Rutland Republican, joined in the opposition. "We need to remember we may say it's legal in Vermont but it’s still violating federal law."

But supporters said they had learned from the advice of officials in Colorado and Washington, devising a controlled system to allow the sale of small amounts of marijuana to adults 21 and older.

That, they reasoned, would drive many black market dealers elsewhere, and shield Vermonters from the harder drugs dealers peddle.

"The question is how many people use marijuana...

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