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Article 10  Vermont Legalizes Recreational Cannabis Without Gov's Sign-off

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Jesse Betend

Trichomes Staff



Vermont has taken steps toward creating a legal cannabis market, despite the reservations of Gov. Phil Scott (R-VT). 


Last week Gov. Scott let bill S.54 go into law without his signature, the result of a four-year push from the legislature to legalize cannabis sales in the state. In a letter to lawmakers, Scott acknowledged progress had been made in addressing his concerns, but said more work was needed. 


“Their work is not done,” Scott said. “The Legislature needs to strengthen education and prevention - including banning marketing that appeals in any way to our kids.”


The governor cited the need for policies that insure increased racial equity among cannabis businesses, including reducing application fees for businesses that qualify as social equity candidates. He also pointed to the fact that the current bill would unfairly benefit existing medical dispensaries by allowing them a headstart on recreational sales. 


“They must ensure equity in this new policy and prevent their priority from becoming a public health problem for current and future generations,” Scott said.


Scott also pointed to multiple areas where lawmakers had worked with his office to find a compromise, enough to allow the bill to become law.  


“This new bill requires cities and towns to authorize these businesses before retail establishments may open. It ensures local zoning applies to cannabis cultivation and production. It dedicates 30% of the excise tax, up to $10 million per year, to education and prevention efforts. And the sales and use tax on cannabis would fund a grant program to expand after-school and summer learning programs,” the Governor said.




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