The Vermont Senate Judiciary Committee approved a marijuana legalization bill on Friday.
The vote was 4-1.
According to the bill, it would make it legal for adults 21 years of age and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and establish a tightly controlled system of licensed marijuana cultivation sites, testing facilities, and retail stores.
It would remain illegal to consume marijuana in public or drive under the influence of marijuana.
Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin issued this statement:
“I want to thank Senator Sears for his leadership and the entire Judiciary Committee for their hard work on this bill. This legislation meets the principles I outlined in my State of the State Address and I believe it provides the framework for our state to cautiously, step-by-step and in the Vermont way end the failed war on drugs policy of marijuana prohibition. This debate is about whether we can take a smarter approach towards marijuana, which is already widely available and used by tens of thousands of Vermonters. Promoting prevention, keeping marijuana out of the hands of kids, getting rid of illegal drug dealers, and doing a better job responding to impaired drivers already on our roads, I believe this legislation is a huge improvement on the failed war on drugs. I look forward to working with the Legislature as they continue to debate this issue.”
If passed, the new law would not take effect until January 2018. The bill still has to pass the full Senate and House before heading to the governor’s desk for signature.