In first-of-their-kind actions, legislatures in two states, Vermont and New Hampshire, moved to decriminalize adult marijuana use this week. From a press release on Vermont by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML):
“House and Senate lawmakers have approved legislation, Senate Bill 22, to eliminate criminal and civil penalties specific to the adult use and possession of marijuana.
“The measure amends state law so that the possession of up to one ounce of cannabis and/or the cultivation of up to two mature plants (and up to four immature plants) is no longer subject to penalty. It also establishes a nine-member commission to make recommendations to the legislature regarding how best to regulate the adult use marijuana market.”
The legislation now awaits the stamp of approval from Governor Phil Scott, who has previously expressed support for the decriminalization of marijuana. If signed into law, the changes will go into effect July 1, 2018.
“The state Senate has joined the House in passing legislation to decriminalize three-quarters of an ounce of marijuana. The vote on Thursday afternoon in favor of an amended House Bill 640 was 17-6.
“Before the bill moves to Gov. Chris Sununu for a likely signature into law, it must first be returned to the House, which passed a bill decriminalizing up to a full ounce of marijuana by a vote of 318-36 in March.”
When signed into law, the two states will be the first to legalize marijuana legislatively rather than through state-wide voting.
The news comes in the midst of continuing condemnation of marijuana use by Donald Trump’s attorney general, Jeff Sessions. A month ago, Sessions stated he was “surprised” that most Americans don’t agree with his anti-marijuana stance.