By Steve Elliott
Vermont State Senator David Zuckerman has introduced a bill to legalize, tax and regulate the production, sale and recreational use of marijuana in the state.
Zuckerman himself doesn't expect the bill to pass this year, reports Morgan True at VT Digger. "I think this is a building year, more than a likely passage year," he said.
Last year the Vermont Legislature decriminalized the possession of small amounts of cannabis. The bill, which took effect in July, replaced criminal penalties for marijuana possession with a civil fine, similar to a traffic ticket, for up to one ounce.
While Gov. Peter Shumlin has said marijuana legalization is "not a priority" this year, he is "closely watching" the regulation and taxation of cannabis in Colorado and Washington, according to spokesman Scott Coriell.
Matt Simon with the Marijuana Policy Project said MPP will spend 2014 trying to build a consensus about the path to legalization.
"We want to pass (tax-and-regulate) in 2015, and I don't see any reason why Vermont wouldn't be one of the first states to do this through the Legislature," Simon said.