It’s also the first state to end cannabis prohibition through an act of lawmakers. All of the other 8 states that have legalized marijuana have done so through voter-approved ballot initiatives.
Under Vermont’s new law, adults over 21 years of age are legally allowed to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow as many as two mature and four immature cannabis plants.
“I personally believe that what adults do behind closed doors and on private property is their choice, so long as it does not negatively impact the health and safety of others, especially children,” said Governor Phil Scott (R) in a statement that accompanied the legalization bill he signed into law Monday.
The new law will take effect on July 1, and does not include provisions for commercial marijuana sales.
Vermont’s passage of the bill is somewhat complicated by the Trump administration’s—as led by Attorney General Jeff Sessions—move to rescind Obama-era policies that allowed states to move forward with state-level legalization without much federal interference despite pot remaining illegal on the federal level. This news, however, did little to deter Vermont lawmakers.
Gov. Scott, who created a commission to study the implications of legalization through an executive order last year, also said in his signing statement that he is not yet ready to support legal marijuana sales. “I look forward to the Marijuana Advisory Commission addressing the need to develop comprehensive education, prevention and highway safety strategies. To be very direct: There must be comprehensive and convincing plans completed in these areas before I will begin to consider the wisdom of implementing a commercial ‘tax and regulate’ system for an adult marijuana market.”