Vermont is set to become the 11th U.S. state to legalize recreational marijuana use. The news was announced by Governor Phil Scott, saying that the allowed the legislature to regulate and tax cannabis without his signature.
The governor plans to allow individual cities to decide for themselves if they want to have the industry or not. The plan also allows for a substantial grant to help fund programs to keep kids away from drugs.
“This new bill requires cities and towns to authorize these businesses before retail establishments may open. It ensures local zoning applies to cannabis cultivation and production. It dedicates 30% of the excise tax, up to $10 million per year, to education and prevention efforts. And the sales and use tax on cannabis would fund a grant program to expand afterschool and summer learning programs,” Scott said. “Additionally, the FY21 budget includes language I proposed to move toward a universal afterschool network, which is based on a successful model from Iceland and is focused on preventing drug use and improving academic and social outcomes.”
Police officers will not be left to fend for themselves in the wake of this bill either. The plan will employ Drug Recognition Experts and saliva testing to determine impairment while on the road, with all evidence they collect admissible in court.
The legislation also aims to put forth some social justice elements in the bill, but the Governor admits that there is more to be done on that front. He hopes to promote racial equity and educate the next generation on the dangers of drug use so that this law will be a positive change for communities and not drag them down.