Published: Thu, May 25, 2017
Medical | By Ismael Lynch

Vermont governor won't sign marijuana bill, sends it back

Vermont governor won't sign marijuana bill, sends it back

Scott also wants the Marijuana Regulatory Commission created by the bill to be strengthened and given a more specific set of tasks.

The governor said he is "not philosophically opposed" to legalization, "and I recognize there is a clear societal shift in that direction".

Gov. Scott says he wants harsher penalties if you give pot to minors, or if you're found driving under the influence, plus penalties if you're caught using in a auto with kids inside.

Scott's office says the Republican governor will agree to sign the bill into law or veto it, he will not allow it to become law without his signature. The eight other states, as well as Washington, D.C., have legalized weed through voter-approved referenda and not the legislative process.

Governor Phil Scott held off on ending some of Vermont's failed marijuana prohibition laws Wednesday, but said if the Legislature can make a few tweaks to S. 22 there may be a "path forward" in June during the veto session. When asked if he thought the House and Senate could revise the bill in time to pass this summer, Governor Scott said, "I believe so, if they're motivated".

The Florida's Legislature secret effort to steer more money to private charter schools, virtual education and home schooling have resulted in political heat on Gov. Rick Scott to veto the sweeping education bill.

The governor suggested he's willing to sign off on a bill to legalize possession and homegrows for those 21 and older if his concerns are addressed. The state's lawmakers were the first in the nation to send a bill legalizing pot to a governor's desk.

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He also wants the commission to take a year before making their final recommendations.

For example, he takes issue with the fact that as the bill is now written, legislation for a regulated system would be introduced before the personal possession and cultivation laws have even changed.

"I'm very hopeful that lawmakers will make the changes he's asking for, and that next month the state will become the first in history to end cannabis prohibition by an act of the legislature". So keeping marijuana illegal is doing nothing to deter the use of it in Vermont.

At a press conference today, Gov. Phil Scott said lawmakers have some work to do on S. 22, but he's open to revisiting the bill, perhaps during the government's July veto session. "So I'm surprised a little bit but I think it's disappointment because I do think that Vermont deserves better and I'm not going to take any pleasure in watching other states around us benefit while we spin around in a circle here with the status quo".

The other four states - California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada - only legalized recreational marijuana in November, and state and local regulators haven't yet established how the drug will be sold and taxed.

"Despite the veto, this is a huge leap forward", said Simon. With a legal market, most dealers wouldn't have the incentive to keep selling. "We hope we can work with the governor and the legislature to come up with a proposal that reflects those priorities".

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