Vermont House Passes Bill to Tax and Regulate Marijuana

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The Vermont House of Representatives on Wednesday passed legislation to tax and regulate marijuana sales in the state: The Senate passed similar legislation in the spring.

Current Vermont law, which took effect in 2018, allows for those 21 and older to legally possess and use personal amounts of marijuana – and they can also grow the plant – but it’s not legal to sell it, meaning marijuana stores don’t exist. The House approved the measure to change this by a vote of 90 to 54 through its second reading. If passed through a third and final reading, as expected, it will be sent to the state’s governor for consideration.

Rep. John Gannon, a Democrat from Wilmington, called Vermont’s existing law “awkward” because it legalized recreational pot but did not create “safe and legal access to it.” He told lawmakers that the question before them was whether cannabis, which was already legalized in Vermont, should be regulated.

“The goal of this bill is the elimination or near elimination of the black market, delivery of product of a certified purity and known potency while minimizing the growth of heavy or hazardous use and use by children,” said State Representative John Gannon,

According to the Associated Press a House amendment has proposed a 14% excise tax on retail sales of marijuana products and a 6% sales and use tax for a total rate of 20%. The bill establishes a license for current medical dispensaries to start selling marijuana in February of 2022. Other retailers would need to apply for licenses and could start selling it in July of 2022. Cultivators, wholesalers and product manufacturers would need to apply for other licenses available.

The program for licensed cannabis establishments would be administered by an independent Cannabis Control Board within the executive branch, which would be responsible for establishing rules, compliance and enforcement.

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