Vermont Governor Vetoes Marijuana Legalization

The state of Vermont recently tried to do something that no state has ever done.

They attempted to legalize recreational marijuana without having the citizens vote, but Governor Phil Scott vetoed the measure.

The bill would have made it legal to possess small quantities of marijuana and also would have created a group of individuals to determine how to regulate the market. The group was to deliver the results of its study with a plan for the adult-use market.

The goal was to create a market for use similar to that in other states such as Washington, California or Colorado. Gov. Scott said he’s not closing the door on legalization through a compromise, though. The Republican said he is open to working with the people, but the members of his own party are unlikely to vote to override the veto.

Not a moral issue

The eight states that have legalized marijuana have done it in the same way, by asking the people to vote in a referendum. The legislators in Vermont attempted to use the lawmaking process to legalize it. They also aimed to create a commission to establish how the market for marijuana would be created, managed and taxed to maximize benefits.

Other states have been keeping an eye on Vermont. Illinois lawmakers are considering legalization primarily to collect tax revenues that could aid in eliminating a deficit in the state’s budget. Scott’s primary downfall is that he is a new politician and members of his party have shown staunch opposition to legalization.

Meanwhile, polls indicate more than half, 57 percent, supported the measure to legalize marijuana. Scott’s veto was accompanied by a comment to reporters that he isn’t “philosophically” opposed to the bill and wants to see a few modifications.

Changes requested

The only changes Scott wanted to see included more time to develop the structure for legalizing marijuana than November, possibly extending the time until 2019. He also wanted greater penalties for those who offer it to or use marijuana in front of children along with severe penalties for driving under the influence.

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