Judiciary preview: Juvenile justice, mental health in prison, possibilities for pot and more
After the Senate bill failed in the House multiple times last year, Sears, a leader of the effort, said that any move to legalize in the coming session would need to originate in the House.
Several House members are part of the Joint Legislative Justice Oversight Committee, the panel that took six full days of testimony on legalization during the summer and fall.
Johnson expects the issue will come up in the House.
“I think we’re going to have a discussion about it,” she said.
She listed factors outside of Vermont that she thinks could influence the conversation, including the changing federal administration and the passage of legalization in Massachusetts and Maine.
“It’s not my top priority for that committee, but I recognize it as conversation that is happening with or without us, so we need to be a part of it,” Johnson said.
Sears was uncertain about the prospects of legalization.
“I think it’s the right policy for Vermont to move ahead,” he said. “Whether or not it’s going to have the votes in the House and the support of the governor, that all remains in question.”
Aside from legalization, there will likely be a couple of separate measures on pot. Sears said he expects the Senate Judiciary Committee will work with Senate Health and Welfare on legislation to expand the medical marijuana system. He also anticipates there will be a bill looking at drug-impaired driving.
Photo credit: Elizabeth Hewitt/VTDigger