Vermont legalized possession of small amounts of cannabis and home cultivation in 2018 but never provided for a retail system. A committee of the lower house of parliament approved a proposal to legalize the sale of cannabis last Friday by 11 votes to 0.

A second Committee will review the project tomorrow to discuss taxes and fees. If approved, the bill will then have to be considered by the Appropriations Committee before going to the State House of Representatives.

The Senate already approved a version of the bill last year. If the House of Representatives approves the bill, it will enter a conference committee with the Senate to reconcile the differences between the versions of the two chambers, the text having been amended in the meantime.

This unanimous committee vote reflects the growing consensus in favor of section 54,” said Matt Simon, New England political director of the Marijuana Policy Project. “Vermonters are more than ready to see the advent of regulated cannabis sales in their state, and it’s an encouraging sign that Vermont’s elected officials are ready to move forward on this issue.  

The law, as approved by the Committee, would establish a government agency to regulate the licensing of all businesses dealing with cannabis. A 16% tax would be imposed on sales of cannabis, and up to 30% of revenues from sales would go to drug treatment programs.

Cannabis flowers could not contain more than 30% THC, and concentrates could contain up to 60% THC.

Republican Governor Phil Scott has already expressed opposition to commercial cannabis sales, citing concerns about impaired driving. However, he is slowly opening up to the issue and would consider funding a school tutoring program with cannabis taxes.

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