VERMONT — Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) on Monday signed into law House Bill 511, which legalizes the possession of up to one ounce of cannabis and removes penalties for possession of up to two mature marijuana plants and up to four immature plants. The legislation says nothing about creating a state market for recreational weed, however. The new law will go into effect in July.
“Today, with mixed emotions, I have signed H. 511,” said Scott in a statement addressed to the state’s General Assembly. “I personally believe that what adults do behind closed doors and on private property is their choice, so long as it does not negatively impact the health and safety of others, especially children.”
Vermont will join eight other legal-weed states, as well as Washington, D.C., in a growing movement away from federal law, which still classifies marijuana as a Schedule I substance, alongside heroin and LSD. Vermont legalized medical marijuana in 2004, and is currently among nearly 30 states, plus the territories of Guam and Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia, with such programs in place.
The final version of H. 511 clarified civil penalties for the sale of marijuana to individuals under 21 years old and removed the commission entirely.
Legal marijuana sales in the U.S. hit $6 billion in 2016, with tax revenue in Colorado and Washington, the states that have had legal cannabis markets for the longest, now bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars a year, according to an analysis by the Marijuana Policy Project.