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Vermont Governor Signs Pot Bill With ‘Mixed Emotions’

It will soon be legal to grow marijuana for personal use in Vermont.

Gov. Phil Scott privately signed the recreational marijuana bill into law "with mixed emotions." 

The Republican governor's office says Scott signed the bill Monday afternoon, behind closed doors to avoid glorifying the change.

Once it takes effect on July 1, Vermont will become the ninth state in the country, along with Washington, D.C., to approve the recreational use of marijuana.

The law allows adults to possess up to one ounce of marijuana, two mature and four immature plants.

It does not raise any new revenues for the state through taxation, but some advocates want to see Vermont open taxed and regulated retail stores.

"I have no doubt that five years down the road we will have a taxed and regulated system, the question is how soon?" said Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman. "And frankly the sooner we do it the better we can set up a model for other states to follow."

"The governor asked us the law enforcement associations to work on being part of developing a responsible path towards legalization. We feel that we were on a responsible path and that the legislature and the governor hyperspeeded that to legalization of up to an ounce before any of those responsible path benchmarks were met," said Chief Jennifer Morrison with the Vermont Association of Chiefs of Police.

Selling marijuana will still be illegal and there are new penalties for enabling the use of pot by someone under 21.

Vermont is the first state where the law was approved by the legislature. The other states and Washington, D.C. authorized their laws through a vote of residents. Vermont has no legal mechanism that allows for a citizen referendum.

The bill passed both chambers of the Vermont Legislature in January.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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