Marijuana

Angela Evancie / VPR

Backers of legislation to legalize marijuana say they're disappointed that they weren't successful this session. One problem was that the House and the Senate looked at the issue very differently.

Angela Evancie / VPR

Following the defeat this week of a marijuana legalization bill, House Democratic leaders are exploring the possibility of putting the issue to Vermonters in November with a non-binding referendum.

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Marijuana legalization is dead for the 2016 session. The Vermont House Tuesday rejected an amendment that would have decriminalized the growing of two plants by a vote of 77 to 70. Lawmakers earlier defeated a Senate plan for commercial marijuana sales.  

The Vermont Senate has given its approval to a bill legalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana
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A long-awaited floor debate on the plan to legalize cannabis finally gets underway in the House today after lawmakers unexpectedly postponed discussion Monday night.

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The House Democratic leadership backed away from a vote on legalizing marijuana Monday night as a more modest compromise plan was being drafted for consideration.

Brennan Linsley / AP

House Speaker Shap Smith says the House will debate a bill legalizing marijuana Monday.

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Gov. Peter Shumlin wants House Speaker Shap Smith to bring a bill legalizing marijuana to the House floor for a vote, but Smith says he's not going to do this at this time because there's not nearly enough support in the House to pass the legislation.

Steven Senne / Associated Press

With the House and Senate deadlocked on a bill legalizing marijuana, a possible compromise is to present this issue to voters in a nonbinding referendum in November.

While Vermont's political system calls on voters to approve proposed Constitutional amendments using a statewide referendum, the process doesn't allow for the consideration of other issues using this approach.

gaspr13 / iStock

After a push from Governor Shumlin and a bill passed by the Senate, many people saw legal marijuana on its way in Vermont. Now, after many twists and turns, it's unclear what form any final bill on the issue might take. We’re coming back to the legalization debate and asking people on both sides about where the legislative process has taken us.

The issue of whether to levy a tax on carbon pollution hasn't gained much traction yet in Montpelier. Vermont Businesses for Social Responsiblity is trying to broaden support for the concept.
Angela Evancie / VPR file

The House has given its final approval to legislation that allows law enforcement officials to use a saliva test to determine if a driver is impaired with a combination of alcohol and marijuana.

Charlotte Albright / VPR file

We tackle two big stories in Vermont news in today's program.

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Law enforcement officials are urging lawmakers to establish a roadside system to determine if a driver is operating a car under the influence of drugs. The system uses a saliva test that can measure levels of marijuana and seven other commonly used drugs. But the potential testing raises civil liberties concerns.

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The House Judiciary Committee scaled back a marijuana bill even further Friday in order to squeak it through the committee and keep the bill alive, setting the stage for a possible showdown with the Senate over legalization.

Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

A bill that would tax and regulate marijuana in Vermont underwent a sudden and drastic overhaul on Wednesday evening, and the latest version scraps legalization in favor of expanding existing decriminalization laws.

Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

As House lawmakers ponder whether or not to legalize marijuana, two key questions have risen to the fore: Will legal pot make Vermont’s highways more dangerous? And will more young residents use cannabis if it’s sold legally in stores?

The answers all depend on who you ask.

Last week, the Winooski police shut down a clandestine drug lab in the heart of the city. But it wasn't a meth lab. The people in the apartment were allegedly making butane hash oil.

Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

As lawmakers in Montpelier debate legalizing marijuana, some local communities are taking action to regulate businesses that cater to users of the drug. In Weathersfield, a new bylaw regulating what it calls “drug and tobacco paraphernalia establishments” went into effect on Wednesday.

Patti Daniels / VPR

Winooski Police say the so-called “clandestine lab” authorities discovered Tuesday in the city’s downtown was being used to make a marijuana derivative called Butane Hash Oil, or BHO.

Angela Evancie / VPR/file

House Speaker Shap Smith says the House will spend the second half of the session closely reviewing a Senate bill that legalizes marijuana. Smith says supporters of the bill have a lot of work to do and doesn't think the proposal has the votes needed to pass at this time.

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Late Wednesday afternoon, the state Senate voted to legalize marijuana in Vermont with 16 senators in favor and 13 against.  That's not too far off from a public opinion about legalizing pot, according to a VPR Poll that show 55 percent of Vermonters supporting legalization.

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