Vermont's Lawmakers Just Beat Voters to the Punch and Legalized Recreational Marijuana

This is the first time politicians have taken it upon themselves to move legalization forward.

The movement for legal marijuana in America is truly gaining steam, with progressive legislation sweeping the nation state by state. On Wednesday, lawmakers in Vermont made history as the state legislature became the first in the country to pass legal weed legislation separate from a voter initiative. 

And if Green Mountain State Gov. Phil Scott––who is reportedly not "philosophically opposed" to legal weed but wants to ensure the bill pays mind to public health and safety––approves the bill, adults in Vermont could be enjoying small amounts of legal chronic as soon as next summer. 

From the Associated Press:

"If Scott signs the legislation it will become law on July 1, 2018. Under the legislation, small amounts of marijuana would be legal to possess and grow for anyone over age 21. Larger amounts would remain illegal.

A nine-member commission will develop a proposal to tax and regulate marijuana, and the proposal will be presented to lawmakers next year."

The bill received approval on a 79-66 vote on Wednesday, reportedly following an hour-long debate. 

"What is changing is the landscape of our region," Democrat Rep. Ruqaiyah Morris reportedly said during the session. "This is going to happen. We can either be proactive and be part of this conversation and ensure we are thinking about all these things, including some sort of a mechanism to address them, or we can just take a wait-and-see approach and deal with it next year."

In wake of the Vermont legislature passing the legalization bill, weed world influencers posted celebratory tweets. 

Currently, cannabis is legal for recreational use in eight states and the District of Columbia. And more than half of the country has legal access to some form of medical marijuana. 

Furthermore, earlier this month, Congress voted to approve a spending bill that included the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, which prevents the federal government from intervening in state medical marijuana laws or spending any federal funds to go after compliant businesses and patients in states that have enacted such legislation. 

The Vermont news should give hope to advocates for normalization. And who knows, perhaps maybe someday the legal weed buzz will worm its way into federal law.