Vermont lawmakers have sent a cannabis legalization compromise proposal to Gov. Phil Scott after the Republican vetoed a measure last month that would have allowed small home-grows and allowed adults 21-and-older to possess up to 1 ounce of cannabis, according to a Vermont Press Bureau report. In his veto message, Scott said there would be a “path forward” to an agreement if legislators addressed his concerns over the measure before the June 21 veto session.
According to the Senate proposal, sent to the governor on June 8, the new measure includes changes to the language defining “public place,” new language allowing seizure if an individual is caught possessing more than the law allows, or in a place where cannabis is explicitly not permitted, such as a child care center, or in a car or public space. The seizure language was approved by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Defender General, and the Attorney General.
Additionally, $200 civil penalties are included for passenger consumption of cannabis in a car, and $500 for consumption in a car with a child present. The measure imposes a fine of $500 and a misdemeanor charge for cultivation in a child care center or after-school program.
Sen. Dick Sears said it was the first attempt to negotiate with the Republican executive on the bill and the lawmakers key in crafting the legislation have gone “a long way to meeting what [Scott] wanted.”
“If, in fact, he gets on board with this I think it’s up to the House Republicans to decide if they want to go against their governor,” Sears said in the report. “That’s the hold-up.”
Rebecca Kelley, spokeswoman for Scott, said the executive’s office is “encouraged to get a good counterproposal to what the governor put forward.”
“All of our conversations on this have been productive,” she said. “We think we’re working towards an agreement and appreciate everyone putting forward a good-faith effort.”
If approved and signed into law, Vermont’s legislature would be the first to pass laws allowing adult possession and consumption. The proposal includes provisions to create a commission to explore setting up a more comprehensive taxed and regulated system.