Vermont Senate approves legal pot measure - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vermont Senate approves legal pot measure

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The Vermont Senate has reignited debate over pot legalization.

The senators bent their own rules Friday, passing a legalization bill almost identical to the one they voted for last session without re-examining the issue. It would allow for those older than 21 to possess small amounts of marijuana and for legal sale at registered dispensaries as of Jan. 2, 2019. Educational efforts would roll out first.

The debate largely rehashed old arguments but unlike before, some of the debate surrounded all the cash taxes on pot could mean for Vermont.

"I know we're not supposed to talk about money, and there's a reason to do public policy, but I mean, let's face it, Massachusetts is going to make a windfall," said Sen. Dick Sears, D-Bennington County.

"We talk about $90 million or $100 million, well that figure's going to fluctuate as other states legalize it. So I would hope we would never make a decision on the money part of it," said Sen. Dick Mazza, D-Grand Isle County.

Last year's Senate version of the bill went down in flames in the House. Speaker Mitzi Johnson tells us this year it likely has even less support. A House version to legalize possession and homegrowing remains stalled.

Senators tacked their legalization language onto a bill that already passed this year but Johnson says playing political games won't help advance the issue.

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