Vermont's Governor Vetoes A Bill To Legalize Recreational Marijuana

Vermont's governor refused to sign legislation to legalize recreational marijuana, unless the state's Congress makes some changes.
Posted at 10:12 PM, May 24, 2017

Vermont was close to becoming the first state to adopt a bill legalizing recreational marijuana, until its governor vetoed it. But that doesn't mean the effort is up in smoke.

Gov. Phil Scott is a self-styled libertarian and says he's not necessarily anti-pot.

"That's why I previously supported and continue to support medical marijuana laws and decriminalization," Scott said at a press conference. 

Scott vetoed the bill because he wants it to ensure that Vermont can detect drivers who are under the influence, provide funding for substance abuse programs and aggressively punish people who sell marijuana to minors.

"If the Legislature agrees to make the changes I am seeking, we can move forward with this discussion in a way that ensures the public health and safety of our communities and our children continue to come first," Scott said.

He also asked legislators to enact a commission that would take a year to study what impact marijuana legalization could have on the state.

The bill initially passed by a slim margin, meaning state legislators probably won't be able to bypass the veto. Any similar measures likely won't be voted on until 2019.

Had Scott signed the bill, Vermont would've been the first state to pass a law legalizing marijuana. The eight other states with legalized recreational marijuana use passed it after voters approved ballot initiatives.