In a veto session that ended up lasting just one day, Vermont lawmakers passed a state budget package that included a compromise on teacher health benefits, but a new version of a marijuana legalization bill was blocked on a procedural vote in the House on Wednesday, according to news reports.
The Senate version keeps the tax on marijuana products at a maximum 12 percent, while the House bill seeks an increase to 28 percent. 511, from further consideration this legislative session.
In the past year, New York State has experienced significant and challenging growing pains since opening its program to patients.
The Legislature passed a legalization bill that was vetoed by Scott because of public safety concerns. But only a majority voted to take action on the bill, with nearly all Republican House members voting 'no'.
The proposal would legalize recreational use of marijuana effective on July 1, 2018.
"The tax rate is irrational and will give drug dealers the ability to undercut the legal market", said Jim Borghesani, a spokesman for the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, which pushed legalization. "Just over a year from now, adults will have the same freedoms to grow and possess cannabis that our neighbors in ME and MA enjoy", said Matt Simon, New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project.
A 28 percent tax may seem like a great idea if you want to fill the Commonwealth checking account with haste, but what will stop a cannabis consumer from taking a short drive to neighboring states like CT and Rhode Island that are both working diligently toward ending prohibition and opening retail markets of their own?
Simon continued; "There is no good reason for the House to delay passage of this modest and sensible legislation. Failing to waive the rules will only mean the marijuana regulatory commission has less time to do its important work".
The Vermont Coalition to Regulate Marijuana is a broad coalition of citizens, organizations, and businesses working to end marijuana prohibition in Vermont and replace it with a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed.
However, the House version doesn't change the amount of marijuana someone can legally own and doesn't change how many plants someone can grow inside their homes.