Vermont is set to become the first state in the nation to legalize the recreational use of marijuana through the state legislature and not a voter referendum as other states have done.
Under the legislation, Vermont residents who are 21 or older can have up to an ounce of marijuana and grow up to nine plants for personal use, as long as the plants are inside. Additionally, any adult would be able to buy up to a quarter of an ounce of pot from a licensed retail store.
— The Smokers Club (@thesmokersclub) February 18, 2015
Proponents also hope that it’ll help the state’s coffers, because the legislation includes several fees, such as a tax of $40 per ounce of marijuana flower, $15 per ounce of any other marijuana product, and $25 on each plant. Estimates put the state raking in between $20 million to $75 million a year if the bill becomes law, and polls say a majority of residents favor legalization.
Almost half – 40 percent – of the monies collected from these fees would be used to help fund substance abuse treatment centers, and for education programs about drug abuse. Some of the funds would also go to medical research on marijuana, and Marijuana Control Board would oversee the industry in the state and enforce rules and regulations.
Under the legislation, pot smoking would still be banned in public.
Four states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for recreational use after residents approved ballot initiatives to loosen pot laws.
Medical marijuana has been legal in Vermont for more than ten years.
Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin says if the measure passes the state legislature, he would sign it into law.