Vermont has become the eleventh state to legalize adult-use marijuana sales. This follows an announcement by Governor Phil Scott. The Republican governor said he would sign Senate Bill 54 into law, which would establish rules and regulations to oversee the commercial production and sale of marijuana to adults.
Permission to sell marijuana for adult-use
In 2018, Vermont lawmakers lifted the penalty on the possession and cultivation of small amounts of marijuana by adults. However, that law did not legalize any commercial activities that involve cannabis production or sales. Currently, only ten states regulate adult-use marijuana sales.
Ten of the eleven states that have legalized adult-use marijuana possession have also wisely regulated the retail cannabis market; until today, Vermont had been the sole exception, said NORML State Policies Coordinator Carly Wolf.
The new law seeks to establish rules and regulations, including taxation rates that govern the licensed large-scale production and sale of cannabis and its products to adults. Under the new law, cannabis retail products will attract a 14 percent excise tax and a further six percent general sales tax levied by the state.
A regulated cannabis marketplace
Additionally, the law caps the potency of herbal cannabis products at 30 percent THC. Concentrates will be limited to a maximum of 60 percent THC. No cannabis product will be in a package that appears appealing to children. Before the operation of any cannabis facility, there will be a vote by the municipality in question to permit commercial activity within its territory.
“This comprehensive legislation was debated and amended over a period of several months by members of both chambers, and it’s supported by a majority of Vermont voters. Senate Bill 54 represents an opportunity to bring common-sense controls to the adult-use marijuana marketplace, which is currently unregulated, unlicensed, and untaxed….This is a victory for those who wish to disrupt the illicit marketplace and move forward with an above-ground, regulated cannabis marketplace,” Wolf added.
The new law starts working from October 1, 2020. However, regulators will only start licensing cannabis-related businesses and activities from the spring of 2022. According to recent reports, Governor Scott also signed a separate legislation, Senate Bill 324. This law puts into effect the automatic review and expungement of low-level marijuana convictions.
This law will take effect on January 2021. Once operational, it aims to expunge the criminal records of more than 10,000 people currently convicted of possessing two ounces or less of marijuana. The law also reduces the penalties for offenses that involve the possession of more than one ounce but less than two ounces of marijuana to a civil fine. Cultivation of three plants will also amount to civil fine.