Governor Scott allows regulated cannabis bill to become law without signature

Published: Oct. 8, 2020 at 12:22 AM EDT
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - A bill that would set up a system to legalize sales of recreational marijuana in Vermont will become law without Republican Gov. Phil Scott’s signature.

The legislation allows retail sales of marijuana to begin in two years. It sets up a 14% excise tax on cannabis products, of which 30% is earmarked for substance abuse prevention and includes a provision for a roadside saliva test.

Scott said in a letter to the Senate secretary late Wednesday that the Legislature made substantial progress in addressing three of his key priorities but more work needs to be done to address the health and safety of kids and highway safety.

“The Legislature needs to strengthen education and prevention – including banning marketing that appeals in any way to our kids – otherwise they are failing to learn the lessons of the public health epidemic caused by tobacco and alcohol,” Governor Scott said.

The Governor also addressed his reasoning for not signing the bill in the WCAX gubernatorial debate, saying the bill was not a top priority for him, but highlighted the work of lawmakers.

“I applaud the legislature for coming forward, but we didn’t get totally there. There are still areas that are problematic within the bill, but again, I felt they made a good faith effort to move forward. It’s inevitable. We have Massachusetts, and Maine and Canada who have legalized, so it was just a matter of time before we did,” Scott said.

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