Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Vermont marijuana bill clears second committee

Vermont Marijuana Legalization Bill Clears Second Committee - Thomas H. Clarke, Daily Chronic:

February 12, 2016 - "A widely supported bill that could make Vermont the first state in the nation to legalize marijuana through the state legislature received approval from a second Senate committee on Friday.

"The Vermont Senate Committee on Finance voted 6 to 1 to approve Senate Bill 241, which would make it legal for adults 21 years of age and older in Vermont to possess up to one ounce of marijuana. The bill would also establish a tightly controlled system of licensed marijuana cultivation sites, testing facilities, and retail stores.

"Before voting on the bill, the Finance Committee adopted a 25% tax rate that would be applied to retail marijuana sales.  The 25% sales is similar to taxes imposed in Oregon and Colorado, and is significantly less than Washington state’s 37% tax rate.

"Under the proposal, home cultivation and sales of edible marijuana products would not be allowed initially.  The bill would create a study commission to explore those issues at a later time.

"Senate Bill 241, which can be read in full here, next moves to the Senate Committee on Appropriations for consideration before being sent to the floor of the Senate for a vote.

"A vote on the bill by the full Senate is expected within the next couple weeks.  The bill is expected to pass, although it remains a work in progress and could see additional amendments prior to final passage.

"Last month, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin (D) called upon the state legislature to pass the 'right bill' to legalize marijuana in Vermont, and making it a top priority of the legislature. Shumlin outlined five specific requirements any marijuana legalization bill should contain before he signs it....

"Legalizing marijuana in Vermont has strong support among Vermont voters, with recent polls showing 57% support.  A study released in 2015 by the Rand Corporation found that Vermont could generate upwards of  $75 million per year in taxes from legalizing marijuana.

"If approved, the new law would not take effect until January 2018."

Read more: http://www.thedailychronic.net/2016/53602/vermont-marijuana-legalization-bill-clears-second-committee/
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