Last week, the Vermont House and Senate passed H.511, which seeks to permit recreational- and adult-use marijuana in the state. The law would remove civil penalties by allowing individuals to possess one ounce or less of marijuana, as well as up to two mature and four immature marijuana plants to grow at home. Expected to be signed into law by Governor Phil Scott, the bill would go into effect on July 1, 2018.
Although H.511 does not provide or allow for licensure of adult-use cannabis cultivation, processing, or dispensary operations, supporters nonetheless see it as an important first step to full implementation of an adult-use marijuana program in Vermont.
As other commentators have noted, the passage of H.511 is important for two other reasons:
- This is the first time a state legislature has legalized recreational marijuana. The eight states that presently permit adult use got there via citizen ballot initiatives.
- The legislation was passed (and the governor has pledged to sign the bill into law) after Attorney General Sessions’ revocation of the Cole Memorandum, giving hope to many in the industry that Sessions’ actions will not chill the industry.