His stance also puts him directly in contradiction with the majority of voters in his state according to Vermont Public Radio, which commissioned the Castleton Polling Institute on the subject: Their findings showed 55 percent of respondents supported legalization, 32 percent are opposed and the remainder are not sure or have no opinion.
Wednesday was the governor's deadline to sign the bill, allow the bill to become law without his signature or veto it. Lawmakers will have the opportunity to address the governor's concerns about the bill as soon as this summer's special session.
Vermont's legislature passed the measure six months after residents in MA and ME voted to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.
If Vermont does legalize marijuana, it will become the third New England state and ninth state overall with legal recreational marijuana.
We have been covering the proposed marijuana legalization bill in Vermont very closely this legislative session, so you can imagine my disappointment when this letter came to my inbox today, stating that Vermont Governor Phil Scott vetoes legalization bill. But Scott left open a "path forward" for passing the bill later this year, saying that if a handful of changes were made in the bill, he could support it.
If Vermont's bill had not been vetoed, it would have been the first state to legalize recreational marijuana via a legislative body, not a public referendum.
"We are all concerned about youth safety and roadside safety", said Laura Subin, director of the Vermont Coalition to Regulate Marijuana. Administrative Law Judge John Van Laningham ordered the state to issue two new licenses to medical marijuana operators.
"Given the gravity of this policy change, I would like to see the Commission have at least a year before making final recommendations", Scott said. "This is a huge policy decision for us", he said.
I want to reiterate that we can all work together on this issue in a thoughtful and responsible way.
When asked by reporters whether he had ever smoked pot, the governor said no, but he added, "I have friends who do".
Earlier this week, Scott told Kyle Midura of WCAX 3 News that he spent the weekend reviewing the legalization bill that was passed by the Vermont House and Senate last week. We have four other states that have legalized right now, and until we have some answers to questions, like impairment on our highways and the edibles and the tax structure and so forth and so on, I think we - the governor of Colorado even said ... With a legal market, most dealers wouldn't have the incentive to keep selling. I have three strategic priorities as Governor: make Vermont more affordable, grow the economy, and protect the most vulnerable.
Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit substance in the USA, and the trend of states bucking prohibition in favor of legal regulation reflects a broad cultural shift toward greater acceptance of the plant.