Scott to veto pot legalization, but says he's open to compromise

Had Gov. Scott not vetoed the bill, Vermont would have become the first state to legalize marijuana through the state legislature. The governor had previously said he did not consider marijuana legalization a priority and had concerns about the lack of a roadside test to detect driver impairment.

"We are disappointed by the governor's decision to veto this widely supported legislation, but we are very encouraged by the governor's offer to work with legislators to pass a legalization bill during the summer veto session", said Matt Simon, New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project. It must include a broader membership, including representatives from the Department of Public Safety, the Department of Health, the Department of Taxes, and the substance abuse prevention and treatment community.

If Vermont's bill had not been vetoed, it would have been the first state to legalize recreational marijuana via a legislative body, not a public referendum. "It'll be fairly explicit", he said of the requests he would make to the House and Senate.

I always try to listen to, and learn from, different points of view, and want to thank those who have taken the time to reach out over the past few weeks with their thoughts.

Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman criticized Scott's veto. Many Vermonters have strong feelings on this issue, and do not hesitate to voice them, both for and against.

Senate Bill 22 would have legalized the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana, and the personal cultivation of up to two mature plants (four immature), for those 21 and older.

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Almost 20 states have bills pending that would legalize adult-use marijuana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. It would have created a study commission to develop legislation to regulate and tax marijuana for adult use. Vermont, which also tried and failed to legalize recreational cannabis a year ago, does not have legal authority to put marijuana legalization to a ballot vote.

"My gut tells me that most of our members are opposed to legalization and will not be wanting to suspend rules".

"I want to reiterate that we can all work together on this issue in a thoughtful and responsible way", the governor said at his weekly news conference in Montpelier.

While the Senate might have the votes to override the governor's veto, the same is not true in the House, which passed the bill by a vote of 79 to 66. "It was a reasonable bill that would have been a step in the right direction and it's a shame Scott will be sending it once more through the wringer where it's anyone's guess how the Legislature will handle it. Scott claims S.22 ".appears to weaken penalties for the dispensing and sale of marijuana to minors".

State lawmakers approved the measure earlier this month.

The Vermont chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics applauded the governor's decision. "We will be working very closely with our allies to make sure any piece of legislation does not allow Big Marijuana to come to Vermont".

  • Marjorie Miles