The state’s senate could pass a bill to open recreational marijuana sales
Vermont approved legislation last year that allowed recreational marijuana use. In doing so, it joined a small handful of states that have opened their doors to the activity. At the same time, however, it omitted a key part – allowing recreational cannabis sales. Fortunately, lawmakers are working to close that gap and the Vermont Senate is reportedly close to approving a bill that will allow recreational sales.
Tim Ashe, the Vermont Senate President Pro Tem, has stated that he plans to fast-track a bill that will allow recreational marijuana sales in the state. That process will help the bill bypass committees and keep it from being lost in the shuffle among other bills to be considered by the Senate. In doing so, Ashe hopes that the state will be able to take advantage of the benefits of a legal marijuana market, such as the potential for millions of dollars in tax revenue.
Even if the Senate gives the bill the green light, there might still be resistance on the other side of the government. The House has repeatedly opposed a litany of tax-and-regulate legislative bills and some lawmakers feel that Vermont may not be ready for recreational marijuana sales.
According to Vermont House Speaker Mitzi Johnson, “And I want to know what effect that’s having on usage, on highway safety, on just awareness of the dangers. I don’t think a tax-and-regulate system is something to rush into.”
If the Senate and the House were able to agree on the subject, there is still yet another hurdle to jump. The governor of Vermont, Phil Scott, has said that he is opposed to opening the recreational marijuana market until the state can find a reliable roadside test for driving under the influence of cannabis. Such technology does not yet exist.