Vermont House Approves Deal on Bill to Tax and Regulate Cannabis Sales

The legislative conference committee report cleared the House Sept. 17, and now goes to the Senate for a final vote.

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The Vermont House approved a deal Sept. 17 on a bill to tax and regulate cannabis sales in the state, according to an AP News report.

The House and Senate agreed on a compromise proposal Sept. 15 to create a legal cannabis market, and the House approved the legislative conference committee report in a 92-56 vote, sending it to the Senate for a final vote, AP News reported.

Gov. Phil Scott said at a press conference Sept. 18 that lawmakers have addressed many of his concerns about a legal cannabis marketplace and have “come a long ways” in creating a bill to allow legal sales, VTDigger reported.

“They’ve come a long ways and we’ll see what happens,” Scott said at the press conference, although he did not say whether he plans veto the measure or sign it into law, according to the news outlet.

Scott has indicated in the past that he would support legislation to tax and regulate cannabis sales if the measure supported education and drug use prevention programs, included a requirement for municipalities to opt in to allowing sales within their jurisdictions, and allowed law enforcement to use saliva tests to screen drivers for impairment without a warrant, VTDigger reported.

The legislature’s proposal directs 30% of excise tax revenue from cannabis sales to drug use prevention and education programs, according to the news outlet, and allows Vermont’s cities and towns to opt in to hosting cannabis dispensaries. It also legalizes saliva testing for police officers, VTDigger reported, although law enforcement would have to obtain a warrant to use the test.

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