Legalization celebration

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JOHNSON, Vt. (WCAX) Recreational marijuana is now legal for adults in Vermont. The new law went into effect Sunday and allows people over 21 to possess up to an ounce of cannabis and grow two mature plants.

It's a day many have been anticipating, legal marijuana in the Green Mountains. Heady Vermont, a cannabis advocacy organization, held a legalization celebration Sunday on private property in Johnson.

"It's not smoking weed as much as is celebrating our ability to be able to do that, our ability to grow these plants, and more importantly the professionals to come out with open conversations and move away from the stigma," said Keith Morris, owner of Willow Crossing Farm, where the event was held.

Patti Humiston agrees there is a negative stigma. While she isn't a regular consumer of cannabis, she isn't afraid to say she may start again now that she can grow her own.

"You can grow it according to what you’re looking for instead of getting it on the street when you don't know what you're getting, so I'm willing to try it," she said.

While weed is now legal to possess and grow in Vermont, selling it is not.

"If we could have more money for opiate treatment, for highway safety from texting to drinking and driving, I think that’s a net plus for our society," said Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman.

The Progressive has been a longtime legalization supporter and says money from a tax and regulated market could be helpful for Vermont.

But some pro-pot people at the event are already finding creative ways to sell the product, like offering a T-shirt or membership at a higher price that includes a free gift of the green stuff.

"Very exciting day, and still waiting for a recreational market, but this is a great way to stick your toes in the water," said Evan Fuller, who works at Humble Roots, a farm that grows CBD hemp.

CBD has been legal to sell in Vermont and is a close relative to cannabis. It contains an extremely low amount of THC, so it won't get you high.

"A lot of different people, circles of people that haven't talked to each other before and everyone's having super positive vibes about all of this happening," Fuller said.

Even nurses are coming out of the cannabis closet. Jessilyn Dolan has worked in opioid addiction management for 7 years and is part of the Vermont Cannabis Nurses Association. Their goal is to educate and answer patient questions on cannabis use.

"Everything we're learning now is how amazing cannabis can work for many people, for pain and withdrawal, instead of using opioids," Dolan said.

Smoking pot in public is not allowed. Employers can also ban use or possession in the workplace and landlords can put marijuana restrictions in lease agreements. Gov. Phil Scott, R-Vermont, signed the law back in January.