Vermont Governor Signs Recreational Marijuana Law

Jan 22, 2018

Vermont becomes the first state to legislatively enact a law permitting recreational marijuana, which bolsters advocates behind similar legislation in New Hampshire.

Gov. Phil Scott, a Republican, said he signed the bill into law with "mixed emotions" during a private signing, the Associated Press reports. It takes effect July 1. It allows adults to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana and have two mature and four immature plants.

Matt Simon, New England legislative director for Marijuana Policy Project, says it bodes well for supporters in New Hampshire. He notes that neighboring states will, as of this summer, permit marijuana recreational use in some form. 

Eight other states, and the District of Columbia, have legalized pot for adults.

New Hampshire moved last year to decriminalize possession of small amounts of pot. The Granite State has a medical marijuana law and a commission is currently studying the possible legalization, regulation, and taxation of marijuana.

Earlier this month, the New Hampshire House of Representative voted to legalize recreational marijuana for adults. The bill is similar to Vermont's, Rep. Renny Cushing, D-Hampton, said. The bill was referred to a committee for further review and will come back to the full House at some point. Gov. Chris Sununu, R-Newfields, opposes marijuana legalization.

Simon says the Vermont law should help raise awareness of efforts in New Hampshire. He quoted a state representative, who advocated for the pot bill in a floor speech a week ago, "New Hampshire will be an island of prohibition in a sea of freedom."

(Material from The Associated Press was used it this report.)