By Anthony Martinelli

Vermont Senate Passes Bill That Would Eliminate Penalties for Adult Marijuana Possession and Cultivation, Create a Study Commission to Consider Regulating and Taxing Marijuana.

The Vermont Senate passed a bill on Friday that would make personal possession and cultivation of small amounts of marijuana legal for adults 21 and older beginning in July 2018.

The Senate amended an unrelated House-approved bill, S. 22, to include the language of H. 170, which the House passed earlier this week. H. 170 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. In addition to including the language of H. 170, the new Senate-approved version of S. 22 would also create a study commission to consider the regulation and taxation of marijuana for adult use.

“You have to give the Senate credit for standing up for Vermont voters, who strongly support making marijuana legal for adults”, says Matt Simon, New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project. “We hope the House will do the same and concur with S. 22 as amended by the Senate. This is not just a reasonable compromise, but an important step forward for supporters of both home cultivation and regulation.”

Simon continues; “The bill would eliminate penalties for adult possession and cultivation, as the House sought to do with H. 170, and create a commission to explore regulating and taxing marijuana, which the Senate clearly supports. This bill proposes a very thoughtful and deliberate approach to replacing prohibition with a more sensible marijuana policy.”

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