To date, no state legislature has taken the law into its own hands to legalize marijuana. Vermont, however, may be the first one to do so. Lawmakers in the state are considering it and this would make Vermont the first state to legalize marijuana through state legislature.
As of today, four states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational cannabis, but the decision to do so was made by the voters at the ballot box, not by the lawmakers.
Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin said he “continues to support” efforts to legalize marijuana.
Vermont, however, is different from those four states and the District of Columbia. The state’s Constitution prohibits the legalization of marijuana through a ballot referendum initiative. For this reason, the only way marijuana could become legal is by state lawmakers taking action.
Senator David Zuckerman, a member of Vermont’s Progressive party, plans to introduce a marijuana legalization bill this session. Zuckerman represents Chittenden County, which has the largest population in Vermont.
Legalized marijuana is a growing trend all over the country now; previously it was more prevalent on the west coast of the United States. Many experts expect Rhode Island to follow the actions taken by Vermont and they too might be one of the next states to legalize marijuana.
“A lot of legislators are just beginning to recognize that most of their constituents support ending marijuana prohibition,” said Mason Tvert of the Marijuana Policy Project. “Colorado and Washington are proving that marijuana can be regulated and taxed like alcohol, and lawmakers around the country are taking notice.”
Some experts, such as Eric Davis, Professor Emeritus of political science at Middlebury College, believe that creating a legal marijuana program in Vermont will take longer than most people expect. They agree that in due time marijuana will be legal, but not for 2 to 3 years.