shap smith

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Vermont: Marijuana Legalization Faces Full Senate

Vermont weed.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Vermont could soon become the first state to legalize marijuana through action by lawmakers rather than through a voter initiative and ballot.

The bill, approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee on Monday, would end marijuana prohibition and begin taxing and regulating cannabis sales.

The full Senate is expected to vote on the proposal this week, possibly as soon as Wednesday.

House of Representatives Speaker Shap Smith, a supporter of the bill, is confident in expecting Senate passage. He is unsure about what happens when the legislation faces the House of Representatives. “I think that within the next couple of years you’ll see the legalization of marijuana,” Smith said in a recent statement. “Whether it’s this year, I think is an open question.”

In a statement on Facebook Monday, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin expressed his support. The full Facebook statement:

Vermont: House Speaker Now Favors Marijuana Legalization

ShapSmithVermontHouseSpeaker[AngelaEvancieVPR]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Cannabis advocates in Vermont have gotten some major support from House Speaker Shap Smith.

For more than a year, Smith had been undecided on the issue, but now he says he'll work to pass a marijuana legalization bill in the 2016 session of the Vermont Legislature, reports Bob Kinzel at VPR.

Smith had taken a "wait and see" position for months, remaining undecided until Vermont lawmakers could look at the experiences of Colorado and Washington, the two states where voters legalized cannabis in 2012.

Smith is running for Governor of Vermont in 2016, and this legislation could become a campaign issue. He said he thinks it makes sense for Vermont to legalize pot, if it can be done with a thoughtful approach.

"It's clear to me in my discussions with Vermonters that in general, the people in this state probably favor legalization," Smith said on the August 28 Vermont Edition. "And I certainly believe that we can legalize marijuana if we do it right ... we've seen what has happened in Colorado and Washington, and we can learn from their experiences."

Photo of Shap Smith: Angela Evancie/VPR

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