Vermont governor vetoes marijuana bill

Senate vote on medical marijuana bill expected in April

"It's unfortunate that the governor chose to put his ideas on the table after adjournment, rather than work with the Legislature over the course of this session to include his ideas into the bill during the legislative session", Johnson said. Scott, a Republican, said he was not "philosophically opposed" to legalization, but he still had concerns-mostly regarding public safety and children's health-that the bill did not adequately address.

During the press conference, Gov. Scott said he has never smoked marijuana, but has several friends that do, noting that they have told him they would continue to buy marijuana on the black market if it was taxed too much in the state.

Since the Legislature passed S.22 on May 10, I have received a great deal of advice on this issue, and taken the time to fully understand what this legislation proposes to do.

The policy changes suggested by Scott include tighter restrictions to keep pot out of the hands of minors, aggressive penalties for intoxicated drivers and expansions to the state's Marijuana Regulatory Commission to include representatives from the state departments of health, taxes and public safety, along with substance abuse and treatment professionals. He also wants a more exhaustive study of the impacts of legalization, including "an education and prevention strategy to address use by minors, and a plan for continued monitoring and reporting on impacts to public health".

Simon continues; "Despite the veto, this is a huge leap forward". He says the panel should have a year before making recommendations.

"What you do behind closed doors in your own home, as long as you're not affecting others, it's OK". Scott said he was sending the bill back the legislature with suggestions for changes.

Bennington County Sen. Dick Sears is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and one of the strongest advocates for legal weed in the Vermont Statehouse.

However, the governor said he is "offering a path forward".

Proponents of legalization, including Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman, expressed disappointment over the governor's announcement. "I think we need to move a little bit slower".

I suppose only time will tell which path the legalization effort in Vermont takes. It's tempting to blame Scott for the latest holdup, but fault lies with the Legislature, specifically the House. I have already reached out to the Coalition of Northeastern Governors - or CONEG - last month to engage my colleagues in a discussion about creating a regional highway safety standard. Sears says moving a bill through the legislative process in such short order would nearly certainly require rules suspensions - rules suspensions that opponents of the bill aren't inclined to support.

Scott announced Wednesday he will send the bill, S.22, back to the Legislature because the measure does not meet his requirements on a few key points.

The Vermont chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics applauded the governor's decision.

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