The House approved a bill on Wednesday that could make the state the first to legalize pot without voter initiative.
As federal politics continued to devolve in DC this week, state legislators in Vermont came together to pass a bill that would legalize small amounts of marijuana for recreational use in the state. The bill now moves to Governor Phil Scott’s desk for approval, who could make his state the first to legalize pot without a ballot initiative, BuzzFeed News reports.
House members voted 79–66 on Wednesday in favor of the bill that would make it legal for people 21 and older to have an ounce of marijuana and two mature plants. The bill, which got a state senate vote of 21–9 in April, would also create an agency to regulate the drug’s sale and production, Townhall reports.
But that still might not quell the governor’s reservations about making pot more available in his state. Ahead of the House vote, Scott said he didn’t believe the issue was “a priority for Vermont.”
“I believe that what we should be doing is trying to find ways to protect those on our highways, to deliver a level of impairment that is consistent throughout the Northeast, as well as to address the edibles for our kids before we move forward with legalization,” Scott said Wednesday, according to Vermont Public Radio.
If Scott decides to sign the bill into law, recreational weed would be available to Vermonters by July 2018—without residents having to vote. The state’s regulation agency would then be tasked with drafting a tax plan to have ready by next summer.
But all that is contingent on Scott, who said despite his vocal concerns, he’d look into the new legislation.
“I’m going to review the bill as passed,” he said Wednesday. “But I’ve been pretty clear that I’d like to see some improvements to the bill to make sure we have structures in place that provide safety to Vermonters.”