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Vermont Pushes For Ganja Legalization

Robert Celt

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Vermont is on its way to being the next state to legalize recreational marijuana after Vermont's senate voted to move forward with a bill on the subject.

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin announced in his state of the state address that he would call for the legislature to develop a bill which would regulate recreational marijuana in the state in 2016. Marijuana has been legalized for medical use in the state since 2005.

Sponsored by Democrat Senator Jeanette K. White and Republican Senator Joe Benning, S. 241 would tax and regulate marijuana in Vermont.

Senate Finance Chairman Senator Tim Ashe said in an interview with WPTZ that the marijuana tax rate in Vermont could range from anywhere between 20 and 37 percent.

"I think it's really important to keep the tax low. As low as possible," said Bill Lofy, spokesman for Vermont Cannabis Collaborative, in an interview with WPTZ. "The governor's right about that, that we want to do everything we can to eliminate the underground market."

Moulton and Lofy told WPTZ that there is potential for the University of Vermont and other state colleges to develop new technology around marijuana testing and therapies that are not available currently.
"I do see some opportunities here in terms of economic development and job creation," Commerce Secretary Pat Moulton said to WPTZ.

Vermont will be the first state to have a referendum on recreational marijuana law, meaning that the legislature proposed the law. Other states with recreational marijuana laws have had citizens propose the law in the form of initiatives, such as I-502 in Washington.

If S. 241 is passed, the state would have to establish a Cannabis Control Board within their Department of Public Safety. Similar to Washington's Liquor and Cannabis control board, this board would be responsible for the administration and enforcement of laws in licensed cannabis establishments.

If S. 241 passes, Vermont residents will be able to purchase marijuana from a state licensed retailers, but the sale of edibles won't be permitted and home growing marijuana would still be illegal.

Residents of the state would be allowed to possess up to one ounce of usable marijuana.

In the coming week, employers will be speaking to the state committee on the issues of Vermont rule restrictions on drug testing if marijuana were to become legal in the state.

"The bill does say there's nothing to require your employer to accommodate somebody using marijuana," said Senator Richard Sears, judiciary committee chairman, when speaking with WPTZ.

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News Moderator: Robert Celt 420 MAGAZINE ®
Full Article: Vermont Pushes For Ganja Legalization
Author: Brian Cook
Contact: The Observer
Photo Credit: None found
Website: The Observer
 
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