Vermont Governor Phil Scott Vetoes Marijuana Legalization

  • by NORML May 24, 2017

    Cannabis PenaltiesRepublican Gov. Phil Scott today rejected legislation, Senate Bill 22, that sought to eliminate criminal and civil penalties for the adult use and possession of marijuana. The Governor said that he did not support the legislation as written, but remains open to working with lawmakers over the summer on ways to amend the state’s cannabis policies.

    Representatives from the Vermont Association of Police Chiefs, the Vermont Medical Society, and the Vermont American Academy of Pediatrics were among those groups opposing S. 22.

    “It is disappointing that Gov. Scott would not only defy the will of state legislators, but also the will of the majority of Vermont voters who support ending criminal penalties for those adults who consume cannabis responsibly,” NORML Political Director Justin Strekal said. “Minor marijuana possession offenders should not be saddled with a criminal record and the lifelong penalties and stigma associated with it. Rather than looking to the future, Gov. Scott seems intent on repeating the failures of the past.”

    Senate Bill 22 would have amended state law so that the possession of up to one ounce of cannabis and/or the cultivation of up to two mature plants (and up to four immature plants) would have no longer been subject to penalty, beginning July 1, 2018. It also established a nine member commission to make recommendations to the legislature regarding how best to regulate the adult use marijuana market.

    State lawmakers approved the measure earlier this month. It was the first time that a legislative body ever approved legislation eliminating criminal and civil penalties for adults who possess or grow marijuana for non-medical purposes.

    House lawmakers in 2016 rejected similar legislation. That measure had been supported by former Gov. Peter Shumlin.

    35 responses to “Vermont Governor Phil Scott Vetoes Marijuana Legalization”

    1. PD Frank says:

      Governor Scott did not want to be the first politician to sign a marijuana legalization bill. That was a short-sighted move. Maine and Massachusetts will have legal marijuana for sale for adults in just over a year and their neighbor to the north, Canada, will have marijuana for sale to adults in just over a year. However Scott felt compelled to listen to cops and not his constituents. This veto today as craven as it was did nothing but postpone the inevitable.

      • Evening Bud says:

        He’s a GOP governor–what can I say. I just read an article that the GOP governor in Nevada is contemplating vetoing the proposal to start opening up recreational dispensaries on the Las Vegas strip. To all you pot advocates and pot tokers out there who still support the GOP . . . I can only shake my head.

        • Me says:

          Republicans are red.
          Democrats are blue.
          Neither of them give a f**k about you!

          Unfortunately neither major party give a flying hoot about us. Hopefully a viable and someone that is not cooky in the Libertarian party rises up in four years so we can have our legal pot and our rights and freedoms too.

          • Julian says:

            What Libertarians? You mean like Senators Flake and Paul that voted for Sessions as AG? The only Libertarian on the side of marijuana policy reform is Representative Rohrabacher-CA.

          • Mark Mitcham says:

            @ “Me,”
            Yeah, except for the fact that the Republicans are much, much worse than the Democrats on marijuana legalization. And now, with Trump and Sessions ramping up the drug war again, we’re in deep shit, thanks in part to you.

            Libertarians are Trump enablers. You don’t get to blame the Democrats anymore — the Democrats voted Democratic. Hell, I’m Green Party, and was still rational enough to vote for Hillary.

            You sure fucked things up real good this time.

            • Me says:

              Hilary would have destroyed our simple freedoms. Under her the 1st, 2nd, 5th, and 6th amendments would have taken huge blows. I could not have a good conscience to vote for that lying c*nt ever. It’s too bad she didn’t choke on her water.

            • Julian says:

              @the douche that calls himself “Me”:
              Speakin of huge blows, why dontcha pull that orange sausage outta yer mouth and read what Trump is doing to the Cole memos Hillary would have kept?

              Do you have any idea how out of touch with reality you are? Its ok… step out of that bubble of denial… promise we wont make fun of you, we’ll applaud you!

    2. Matt says:

      Like I said, done with Vermont. I do not think a compromise will be reached, either, and am not even going to bother reading the cheers from supporters in news articles. I also predict a Sessions crackdown at least by the end of July if not sooner. PD Frank is right, but the inevitable, at least for Vermont, could take a very, very long time. Done with them. Clueless Vermont strikes out yet again. Typical. Supporters are probably commending the governor, and the marijuana citations WILL continue as before. Done with Vermont. My fight is now in defense of the states that have legalized. I will be back on later. I am sorry to be so negative about it, but this truly, truly pisses me off. Common sense was right in front of the man’s face, as was the FUTURE, the inevitable future, as Frank pointed out above, but Scott just would not do it. Way to go, yet again, Vermont. As soon as I can, I am moving to states that have legalized and embraced the future. And forgetting about nightmares like this. That is all for now.

    3. Julian says:

      Sheriffs Associations, Big Pharma and Private Insurance strike again.


      And what, pray tell, are the conditions to pass this bill oh slavedriver of the sick and poor? Should Vermont tax the sales more?
      21 more votes in the House is a stretch, but it doesnt hurt to get a roll call on this vote and get people calling to prepare an override.

      • Anonymous says:

        What’s really fun is how in Georgia they’ll throw you in a cage for 12 hours before you can make a phone call to bond out.

        After this you have a year long court session where you either go to jail for about 180 days or go on probation for a year.

        Good luck with finding jobs in the meantime. That is, good jobs.

        Oh this is only for simple possession. Dealing is dealt with (pun intended) on a much harsher note.

        Fun times in the deep South. /s.

    4. Dick Tator says:


      Science News
      from research organizations

      Cannabis reverses aging processes in the brain, study suggests

      Researchers restore the memory performance of Methuselah mice to a juvenile stage

      May 8, 2017
      University of Bonn
      Memory performance decreases with increasing age. Cannabis can reverse these ageing processes in the brain. This was shown in mice by scientists at the University of Bonn with their colleagues at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Israel). Old animals were able to regress to the state of two-month-old mice with a prolonged low-dose treatment with a cannabis active ingredient. This opens up new options, for instance, when it comes to treating dementia.

    5. Dick Tator says:

      Governor Scott seems to not want to remain Governor?

    6. Julian says:

      So I called Governor Scotts office and spoke with Ellen and asked her what the “conditions are that Governor Scott is looking for in order to approve a revised marijuana legalization bill?”
      Ellen said Rebecca Kelley is their Communications Director in order to get a press statement and “she’s not in the office right now.” How fortunate.
      So here’s her email;

      Lets all give Rebecca a polite call and ask her the same question until she shows up back in the Governors office.

    7. Julian says:

      Governor Scott’s office: 802-828-3333

    8. Lance says:

      Prohibition is not going quietly into the night. It is sad that in many places the law enforcement is addicted to persecuting those who dare observe their human right to ingest marijuana, but that is the case here in Vermont. It is changing, but it is not over and we are going to have to keep demanding our rights in spite of those seeking to keep the prohibition intact.

    9. Charlie says:

      I’ve read eight stories about the veto, and none of them addressed the specific revisions the Gov. is looking for. Has he stated them or is this shoddy journalism?

      • JJ says:

        From the Gov’s message posted on his site, the closest he gets to anything concrete is the following:

        “More specifically – as I have said repeatedly throughout the campaign and this session – we should know how we will detect and measure impairment on our roadways, fund and implement additional substance abuse prevention education, keep our children safe and penalize those who do not, and measure how legalization impacts the mental health and substance abuse issues our communities are already facing.

        From my vantage point, S.22 does not yet adequately address these questions.”

        • Julian says:

          So amend the bill to use fairly taxed revenue from legalization to fund the NHSA and AAA to conduct another peer reviewed controlled study in Vermont to monitor impairment of marijuana involving accidents alcohol and prescription pills seperately.
          Then add a provision for certified opiate and drug education.
          A study should be the easiest part. Here in Texas we are trying to pass HCR 149 to study marijuana. These Resolutions do not require legislative schedules to be implemented and could be introduced as seperate legislation.
          This is a matter of not giving up, but looking at the roll call and contacting these House members that said no and making them say yes. And to the ones who authored the bills start cracking out these amendments! Times a wastin! You only have about a month left in the legislative session!


    10. TheOracle says:

      That was a dick move. Now what the hell are you gonna do, Governor? Wait until Canada has implemented, then say Vermont has to legalize to prevent cross-border smuggling? That is a dumb thing, really dumb to wait that long. You need to keep things moving. Make essentially some decent revisions that the cannabis community want, and get it rolling again. Then everyone will be rolling–rolling in dough, rolling joints! Just get legalization done before then end of calendar 2018! No excuses!


      I told you no excuses.