MONTPELIER, Vt. (Dec. 29, 2015) – A bill introduced in the Vermont legislature would legalize marijuana for recreational use, taxing and regulating the crop similar to alcohol. The proposal would not only legalize marijuana in the Green Mountain State, it would also take a big step toward nullifying federal cannabis prohibition in practice in Vermont.
Sen. Jeanette K. White (D-Windham) and Sen. Joe Benning (R-Caledonia) pre-filed Senate Bill 241 (S.241) for introduction in the 2016 legislative session. The bill would allow individuals twenty-one years and older to possess:
(A) one ounce of cannabis;
(B) 100-square-foot plot of cannabis plants; and
(C) any additional cannabis produced by the person’s cannabis plants, provided that any amount of cannabis in excess of one ounce of cannabis must be possessed in a secure indoor facility.
If S.241 is successful, Vermont would be the first state to legalize recreational marijuana through the state legislature rather than the ballot initiative process.
EFFECT ON FEDERAL PROHIBITION
Passage of S.241 would remove one layer of laws prohibiting the possession, cultivation or use of marijuana, but federal prohibition would remain in place.
Of course, the federal government lacks any constitutional authority to ban or regulate marijuana within the borders of a state, despite the opinion of the politically connected lawyers on the Supreme Court. If you doubt this, ask yourself why it took a constitutional amendment to institute federal alcohol prohibition.
While the Vermont bill would not alter federal law, it would take a step toward nullifying in effect…