Charlotte Albright / VPR

Should Vermont legalize marijuana?  It's a question that has been animating public forums around the state over the last few months in anticipation of the next legislative session, where it is likely to spur even more debate.

Last week, a group gathered at Lyndon State College to exchange views.

Steven Senne / Associated Press

  House speaker and now gubernatorial candidate Shap Smith has come out in favor of the legalization of  marijuana and says he'll push for a bill in the 2016 session. Momentum for legalization has been building in the state and many proponents have hopes for action next year.


As of Tuesday afternoon, Vermont's largest city has a new top cop. Brandon del Pozo was sworn in as Burlington's police chief earlier today.

Alison Redlich / AP

Backers of a plan to legalize marijuana in Vermont have received some significant legislative support from House Speaker Shap Smith.


A group of Vermont business leaders called the Vermont Cannabis Collaborative has been inviting public comment on the best way to create a safe, sustainable marijuana industry. Medical marijuana is already being legally distributed, but using it recreationally is still against state law.

Brennan Linsley / AP

If a Vermont State Senator and some advocacy groups in Windham County have their way, the phrase "Vermont Home Grown" could be a reference not just to food, but also to marijuana.

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Next year’s legislative session will be the last for Gov. Peter Shumlin, who announced in June that he won’t be seeking reelection in 2016. And some prominent lawmakers are hoping to get a marijuana legalization bill to his desk before he leaves office.

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While Vermont's lawmakers are unlikely to get around to deciding whether to legalize marijuana this session, the University of Vermont is hoping to keep the conversation about cannabis going with an online Cannabis Speaker Series.

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Representatives Chris Pearson and Jean O’Sullivan introduced a bill this week to reinstate the prohibition of alcoholic beverages in Vermont, but they don’t want it to pass.

The bill, which would make possession of alcohol punishable by up to 30 years in prison and fines of $1 million, is the latest rhetorical flourish by lawmakers hoping to legalize marijuana in Vermont.

Courtesy / Castleton Polling Institute

The majority of Vermonters want the legislature to legalize marijuana, according to a recent poll.

The poll, conducted by the Castleton Polling Institute, said that 54 percent of Vermonters are in favor of legalization. The poll showed that 70 percent of Vermonters aged 18 to 44 are in favor of legalization, while just 28 percent in that age group are opposed. Support for legalization is lower among older residents, with 61 percent of Vermonters older than 64 opposed.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR/file

This week marks the 47th year that Washington County Sen. Bill Doyle has distributed his annual Town Meeting Day survey. This year's survey includes questions about taxes, the environment and the legalization of marijuana.

Peter Hirschfeld / VPR File

Chittenden Sen. David Zuckerman has introduced a bill to legalize marijuana in Vermont. But the legislation isn’t likely to pass anytime soon.

Zuckerman’s 44-page bill calls for the taxation and regulation of marijuana, and would essentially have the state treat cannabis the same way it does alcohol.

“It has the potential for economic development in the state, both from the production and sale of marijuana, but also in tourism attraction, and the various jobs affiliated with both of those scenarios,” Zuckerman says.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR/file

To legalize or not to legalize marijuana? That's been the question on many Vermonters' minds of late. To help them answer it, some here have been looking west, to Colorado, where recreational pot has now been legal for a year.

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A team made up of Vermont law enforcement, public officials and community leaders will head to Colorado on Sunday to gather information about that state’s experience with marijuana now that it’s legal there. 

Whether or not Vermont follows suit, it's likely pot-infused edibles will become more common.

Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Legislators say Vermont’s medical marijuana law has by and large been a success. But they’re applying new scrutiny to a form of cannabis that is generating public health concerns in places where marijuana is available legally.

Why? Because smoking isn’t for everyone.

Angela Evancie / VPR

A new study says the biggest issue in the legislative debate over the legalization of marijuana is whether or not for-profit companies will be allowed to sell a variety of marijuana products.

But the "for profit" approach taken by the states of Colorado and Washington isn't the only option available to lawmakers.

Brennan Linsley / AP

Activists and some lawmakers say Vermont should legalize marijuana, as Washington state and Colorado have done. Late last week, a state-commissioned study from the Rand Corporation was released, which delves into the policy questions Vermont would have to decide if it chooses to legalize pot.

A new advisory commission created by Gov. Phil Scott this week will focus on the issue of marijuana legalization in Vermont.
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A study on marijuana legalization in Vermont released Friday has found that the state could get as much as $75 million in new revenue by taxing and regulating the drug, but it would come with some consequences and other expenses.

A new advisory commission created by Gov. Phil Scott this week will focus on the issue of marijuana legalization in Vermont.
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Marijuana legalization advocates have been laying the groundwork for a big legislative push in 2015. But Vermont lawmakers don’t seem inclined to follow in the footsteps of Washington and Colorado any time soon.

Earlier this year, Burlington lawyer Carl Lisman quietly registered a rather noteworthy trade name. It’s called “Vermont Cannabis,” and its purpose, according to the paperwork filed at the corporations division at the Vermont Secretary of State, is the “promotion of cannabis products.”

In January, lawmakers will receive a detailed report analyzing many of the issues surrounding the possible legalization of marijuana in the state.

Supporters are hoping that these specific concerns can be addressed if the Legislature wants to move forward with this issue during the 2015 session.

The study will not make recommendations either for or against the legalization of marijuana in Vermont. Instead it will outline a number of policy areas that need to be considered if an effort is made to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.