Vermont could become the first state to legalize marijuana through the legislature

Vermont may soon make history: Its legislature could be the very first in the country to legalize marijuana.

On Thursday, the Vermont Senate passed a pot legalization bill. It now moves to the House, which will need to approve it before it ends up on the governor's desk. But Gov. Peter Shumlin has said he supports the bill.


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.


Vermont Senate approves marijuana legalization 16-13

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The Vermont Senate has given preliminary approval to a bill to legalize possession of up to an ounce of marijuana by adults in the state.

The measure was approved Wednesday by a vote of 16-13. A final vote on the measure is expected Thursday.

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the bill on a 4-3 vote on Monday after it had previously won approval in the Judiciary and Finance committees.

In a statement issued after the vote, Gov. Peter Shumlin called it "a big moment for Vermont."

He says 80,000 Vermonters admit to using marijuana on a monthly basis and it's clear the current system is broken.

The bill will now be considered by the House.


Debate underway over legalized marijuana in Vermont

There's a push underway in Vermont to legalize recreational marijuana. Lawmakers there are looking at how the state would regulate it and tax it. That legislation has already passed through a number of different Vermont State Senate Committees as advocates push it toward a vote. But some law enforcement officials say, it's not a good idea.

This month, the Senate's version of this legislation moved through the Senate Judiciary and Finance Committees. It was scheduled to be in the Senate Appropriations Committee Wednesday.

"Vermont has a prohibition on marijuana that has not been a successful policy," said Matt Simon, New England Political Director for the Marijuana Policy Project, a group pushing for this legislation.


Drugs America's Marijuana Legalization Hotbed Ain't on the West Coast, It's in ... New England?

No state east of the Mississippi has legalized marijuana, but the land of Yankees has several states that could free the weed this year.

No state east of the Mississippi has legalized marijuana, but that's very likely to change this year, and New England will be leading the way. Two of the six New England states will likely let the voters make the call in November, while the others all have legalization bills pending.

So far, with the exception of Washington, DC, where voters elected to legalize the possession and cultivation, but not the sale of marijuana in 2014, all of the legalization action has been in the West. The four states that have legalized it so far—Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington—are all Western states.


Vermont Police No Longer Training K9s to Detect Marijuana

A report from the Barre-Montpelier Times Argus revealed that Vermont’s police force has stopped training its police dogs to detect the odor of marijuana.

According to the Times Argus, this is the first year that marijuana detection has not been part of the regular training of the state’s police dogs. The paper reported that the decision was partially influenced by the likelihood that Vermont will legalize marijuana in the near future, which would lead to the possibility that re-training police dogs to cease detecting marijuana would exhaust additional time and resources.


VT marijuana legalization clears 2nd hurdle

Medical marijuana clone plants at a medical marijuana dispensary in Oakland, Calif.(Photo: AP File)

Vermont's Senate Finance Committee approved marijuana legalization on Friday, moving the issue closer to the Senate floor.

The committee settled on a 25 percent tax rate. Sen. Tim Ashe, D-Chittenden, said earlier that the committee's task was to set a tax rate that would make marijuana cheap enough to compete with the existing black market.

The Finance committee also changed the proposed possession limit to one half an ounce. The previous version of the bill set a 1-ounce limit.

The vote comes two weeks after the bill cleared the Senate Judiciary, which focused early in the session on drafting a legalization bill.


Another Vermont Senate Committee Approves Marijuana Legalization Bill

The Vermont Senate Committee on Finance approved a bill (6-1) on Friday that would end marijuana prohibition in the state and regulate marijuana for adult use. The bill was approved by the Senate Committee on Judiciary on January 29, and it will now be considered by the Senate Committee on Appropriations.


Vermont police dogs won’t search for pot

BARRE — Vermont police dogs are no longer trained to recognize the smell of marijuana, a decision made in preparation for possible marijuana legalization.

“The class that is going through right now is not being trained to alert on marijuana odor,” said Robert Ryan, Vermont’s head K-9 training coordinator.

This year marks the first Vermont Police Academy K-9 class in which marijuana is left out of the training.

“We started talking about it last year and we made the decision for this class to not do marijuana,” said Ryan.

The reason according to Ryan, is the assumption that Vermont will legalize marijuana. “And if for some reason it doesn’t become legalized, it’s an odor that (dogs) can be trained to alert on later.”


University of Vermont to Launch Country’s First Medical Cannabis Course

This Spring, the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Vermont’s College of Medicine will be launching what is believed to be a first: A college-level course dedicated entirely to medical cannabis.

Despite the drug being illegal to possess and/or distribute, and being notoriously difficult to research due to strict Federal scheduling, two of the University’s professors are determined to make medical cannabis a part of the curriculum. Karen Lounsbury, PhD, and Wolfgang Dustmann, PhD, hope to strip away the stigma surrounding cannabis in order to teach students the facts, without the fear.


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