Today, the Vermont senators who support ending marijuana prohibition stepped onto the Senate floor knowing they would face a contentious debate from their prohibitionist colleagues. After much discussion, the champions of reasonable regulation narrowly prevailed when the Senate voted 16-13 to approve S. 241!
However, S. 241 must survive an additional floor vote before it advances to the House.
If you are a Vermont resident, please send one more message to your senators and let them know how you feel about this historic development! Consider editing the form message to express your own thoughts about how marijuana prohibition has failed Vermont.
In approving S. 241 today, the Senate became only the second legislative chamber in the United States to approve a marijuana legalization bill. (The New Hampshire House of Representatives narrowly passed a similar bill in 2014, but it did not advance.). The fact that it has made it this far is a testament to the strength of our robust Vermont Coalition to Regulate Marijuana, your many calls and emails, and the leadership of Gov. Peter Shumlin and legislative leaders.
Today, the Vermont Senate Appropriations Committee voted 4-3 to approve S. 241, a bill that would end marijuana prohibition for adults and create a regulated and taxed system for marijuana production and sale. The bill has already been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Finance Committee.
Next, S. 241 will move to the Senate floor for a vote by the full Senate, which will probably happen later this week. If it passes there, it will go to the House of Representatives, and the committee process will begin anew after the legislature takes a break for Town Meeting Week (February 29 to March 4).
Last week, Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell and two former attorneys general, Jerome Diamond and Kimberly Cheney, sent a letter to legislators encouraging them to move forward with the proposal to end prohibition and regulate marijuana.
Earlier today, Vermont Public Radio released the results of a new poll conducted by the Castleton Polling Institute that found 55% of Vermonters support passing a law to legalize and regulate marijuana for adult use. Only 32% said they are opposed. The survey of 895 Vermonters was conducted February 3-17.
If you are a Vermont resident, please send them an email urging them to support S. 241.
On Friday, the Vermont Senate Finance Committee voted 6-1 to approve S. 241, a bill that would end marijuana prohibition for adults and create a regulated and taxed system for marijuana production and sale. Before passing the bill, the Finance Committee adopted a 25% tax rate that would be applied to retail sales. (This is roughly on par with the tax rates in Oregon and Colorado, and it is significantly less than the rate in Washington state).
This bill is still a work in progress. We will continue to update you on new developments as it advances through the committee process.
If you are a Vermont resident, it’s very important that your senators and representatives hear from you today. Please send them an email urging them to support S. 241. If you are able to take a few minutes to personalize your email, that may increase its impact on legislators.
S. 241 will be considered by the Senate Appropriations Committee next. A vote by the full Senate is expected within the next couple weeks.