Vermont Legislature becomes first in USA to legalize marijuana for recreational use

Marijuana plants grow under artificial light at the Green Pearl Organics dispensary in Desert Hot Springs on the first day of legal recreational marijuana sales in California Jan. 1 2018

With legalization expected, backers keep up push for regulated pot market

Republican Gov. Phil Scott has indicated he would sign the bill, which was approved by the House last week.

The Vermont Senate has passed a bill that legalizes the possession and consumption of marijuana and allows state residents to grow the plant in their homes.

Vermont's senate on Wednesday passed a bill to legalize recreational marijuana use, which would make the state the first in the nation to do so through the legislative process rather than a ballot initiative. It does not immediately clear the way for retail sales of the drug, leaving that up to a commission created previous year to study how to tax and regulate it.

Republicans in the state attempted a last-ditch effort to delay the bill until the report is released, but were unsuccessful, according to the Burlington Free Press.

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Vermont is on its way to becoming the ninth state with legal marijuana.

"This will be an important milestone for the legalization movement". John Rodgers, a Democrat representing Essex/Orleans, before the Senate voted to legalize marijuana January 10, 2018, at Vermont's Statehouse in Montpelier, Vt. "When Gov. Scott signs this legislation, Vermont will become the first state in the country to end marijuana prohibition through legislative action", Marijuana Policy Project interim director Matthew Schweich said.

Neighboring Massachusetts, nearby ME and six other states have legalized marijuana use as a result of voter initiatives.

Passage would put the state directly at odds with the Trump administration. The Attorney General rescinded the Obama-era directive known as the Cole Memo, which instructed the Justice Department to place a low priority on enforcing federal marijuana laws against businesses and organizations that comply with state laws. "It's time for the federal government to respect the authority of states to determine their own marijuana policies".

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