Vermont House Speaker Shap Smith, previously undecided about whether to support a bill that would make marijuana legal for adults and regulate it similarly to alcohol, has put his support behind such a measure for the 2016 session
Vermont Public Radio reports:
For months, Smith has taken a "wait and see" position concerning the legalization of marijuana. He said he wanted to remain undecided until Vermont lawmakers could closely evaluate the experience of Colorado and Washington, the two states that have legalized marijuana for more than a year.
Smith is seeking the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 2016, and this legislation could be become a campaign issue.
Smith says he thinks it makes sense for Vermont to legalize marijuana if it can be done with a thoughtful approach.
"It's clear to me in my discussions with Vermonters that in general, the people in this state probably favor legalization,” Smith said on VPR's Vermont Edition on Aug. 28. “And I certainly believe that we can legalize marijuana if we do it right … we've seen what has happened in Colorado and Washington, and we can learn from their experiences."
Earlier this year, Sen. David Zuckerman and Rep. Chris Pearson introduced legislation to regulate marijuana, but the session adjourned before they were able to get a vote.