Vermont house passes adult-use cannabis bill

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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 is poised to become the ninth state to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes.

Vermont's House of Representatives has signed off on legislation that would allow adults 21 years old or older to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana and grow cannabis at their homes. "We applaud lawmakers for heeding the calls of their constituents and taking this important step toward treating marijuana more like alcohol", said Matt Simon, New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project.

Vermont would be the first state to legalize cannabis through the state legislature instead of a ballot initiative. That group is expected to make its recommendations later this month. Vermont followed suit in 2004, and medical marijuana laws are now on the books in 29 states and Washington, D.C.

California launched the world's largest regulated commercial market for recreational marijuana on Monday, as dozens of newly licensed stores opened for business in the state.

"It is becoming clear that states are exhausted of helping the federal government enforce outdated and harmful marijuana polices and are ready to make this legal for adults", said Matthew Schweich, interim executive director for the Marijuana Policy Project. Eight states and D.C. now have recreational marijuana laws in place, but only six of them now permit commercial sales: Alaska, California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington state.

The Vermont House decision came after Sessions reversed an Obama-era policy known as the Cole Memo which could allow the Department of Justice to prosecute marijuana sellers and customers despite its legality on a state-by-state basis.

President Trump's attorney general, Mr. Sessions, issued a memorandum earlier Thursday calling those policies "unnecessary" and said they were rescinded immediately, casting uncertainties concerning the future of the states' medical and recreational marijuana laws.

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