Legal pot supporters see hopes dim in VT
MONTPELIER – Key legislative leaders said Monday they doubted they could muster support in the House for a Senate-passed bill legalizing marijuana in Vermont, and delayed until Tuesday a vote on compromise legislation calling for expanded decriminalization.
But prospects even for that measure — replacing criminal penalties with fines akin to a traffic ticket for possession of up to 2 ounces and cultivation of up to two plants — appeared uncertain Monday.
Rep. Sarah Copeland-Hanzas, the leader of majority Democrats in the House, said Monday night that the amendment containing the compromise language had not yet been drafted. As for whether it had the votes to pass, she said, “The outcome is unclear.”
The House did approve, on a 133-13 roll call vote, a separate measure expanding Vermont’s medical marijuana law to a broader range of patients with pain by replacing the words “severe pain” with “chronic pain.” The current law has made it easier for some patients to get opiates than marijuana for pain treatment, supporters of the change said. It also expands the law to cover patients with glaucoma, an eye disorder.
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