Vermont Legislature Becomes First In U.S. To Legalize Marijuana For Recreational Use

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The Vermont Legislature made history Wednesday, becoming the first in the U.S. to approve a bill put forward by lawmakers to legalize recreational marijuana.

The Democratic-controlled legislature passed H.511, which allows individuals 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and to grow up to two plants to maturity. Republican Gov. Phil Scott has indicated he will sign the measure into law later this month.

To date, eight states — including California, Colorado and Nevada — have legalized recreational marijuana, but have done so through voter-approved ballot measures.

In Vermont, the issue of legal marijuana has been debated for several years, with most polls showing widespread support from voters.

Other state legislatures considering legalizing pot this year include Rhode Island and Connecticut.

In New Jersey, Democratic Gov.-elect Phil Murphy has pledged to sign legislation that would allow for the possession and sale of recreational marijuana. Leaders of the Democratic-controlled Legislature there have said a bill could be passed by early spring.

The vote on Wednesday in Vermont comes a week after the Trump administration announced that it would scrap an Obama-era policy offering legal shelter for state-sanctioned marijuana sales.