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Vermont's Legislature Just Became the First to Approve Recreational Marijuana

May 10, 2017

Vermont has become the first state in the U.S. to approve a recreational marijuana legalization bill through its legislature. Now, the bill heads to Governor Phil Scott for a final signature — or a veto.

The bill, which was passed by the Vermont House of Representatives Wednesday following approval from the state Senate, would make it legal for adults 21 and older to grow and possess small amounts of marijuana starting in 2018.

While other states have legalized recreational marijuana through a voter referendum, Vermont's bill would be significant as the first state to pass such a law entirely through its legislative body, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

"Vermont lawmakers made history today," Matt Simon, New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a statement to Time. "The Legislature has taken a crucial step toward ending the failed policy of marijuana prohibition. There is no rational reason to continue punishing adults for consuming a substance that is safer than alcohol"

If signed into law, Vermont would then have to move to establish a system to regulate marijuana production and sales, which would likely include taxation. The bill, if passed, would create a study commission to develop further legislation to establish such a system.

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